Please Don’t Be Too Familiar

too-familiar

So I have this problem. You know how people who have been rich their whole lives don’t often recognize the rare luxuries they possess? The less fortunate would trade for just a slice of the affluent lifestyle in a heartbeat, yet the rich are so chronically indulged, they fail to appreciate their wealth or take full advantage of its pleasures.

That’s me. And that’s my problem.

No, I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about something much more valuable. For greater than all the gold in the world is the very Word of God, and I’ve possessed it my whole life.

It was spoken to me pre-birth, sung to me at bedtime, taught at church, home, and school . . . and I even attended Bible college. I have read all 66 books multiple times. I own numerous copies in various forms and have bits and pieces hanging from my walls. Whether by obligation or by choice, an endless supply of Bible has been made available to me for 30+ of my 30+ years.

But do I even recognize the luxury? Have I made good use of this, the greatest Treasure that anyone could possess? Or has it become such a natural, everyday part of life, that it sits neglected or becomes routine? Has familiarity so dulled my senses, that I struggle to read with awe?

Not to mention . . .

When I do read, I fight a lifetime of presuppositions. It feels almost impossible to see the Text with fresh eyes due to layer upon layer of lenses. My ability to recognize raw Truth is shut out by preexisting teachings, viewpoints, conclusions, and the like, and I find myself thinking my own thoughts more than I think God’s.

That’s why it’s scary to have known the Bible your whole life.

While I’m grateful beyond measure that the Word was near from the earliest of my days, I am truly jealous of the Christian who reads the pages of Scripture for the first time. Who gazes, eyes wide and jaw dropped, at its glory. Who so innocently accepts whatever God says to be true. Who drinks deeply and can never get enough. Who rejoices as one who finds Bread after wandering in the desert. What I would give for unending love-at-first-sight.

But then I remind myself that a Word-filled life is not the problem – a stagnant Word-filled life is. A Scripture-saturated story is not the problem – a numb, distracted heart in the midst of it is.

So, I thank God for my Word-filled life and pray to be filled even more. I pray for a childlike awe and novice’s infatuation. For freshness and clarity and unspeakable joy. I pray that the Bible not be so familiar that it sits shelved and unappealing to my accustomed heart. Instead, may the Bible become so familiar, it works in me like the breath in my lungs and the blood in my veins to produce ever-giving life, so that I just can’t go on without it.

 [image credit: unsplash.com]


18 thoughts on “Please Don’t Be Too Familiar

  1. This is a wonderful and humble perspective and I’m so glad you tackled it. It really is so easy to get caught up in stagnant reading of the Bible. Thank you for this well-written encouragement!

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  2. I teach a class of ladies who have been believers for decades and the biggest hurdle we all have to overcome is learning not to ‘jump to the end’ of the story… you are exactly right that we already ‘know’ the end so we turn off our openness to finding new subtleties. We need to learn to stop that thing within us that says ‘oh I know that’ and listen for what God has to say to us right now in our present situation. Thanks for the reminder about all that we do have in Christ!

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  3. Amen, Lydia! I can’t say I had this luxury my whole life- just for a few years now. As someone who received Christ as a young adult, I’m jealous of people who have lived their whole lives saturated in God’s Word and who received Him young. It’s humbling to hear from the other side : )

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  4. Amen! That’s part of my salvation story. I grew up with the Bible and God was just as real as the air that we breath. I had to realize that being a Christian was about more than knowing the Bible and believing God was real. It’s about a relationship.

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  5. Such a well-written article. So important for us to recognize the propensity to take the privileges of grace and His Word for granted. I am reading via the #DancingWithJesus linkkup. Sorry I didn’t comment yesterday. Stuff happened and I couldn’t get back to posting. Have a blessed Christmas!
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

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  6. Ah yes. I’ve run into that problem recently myself. I discovered that reading in a new-to-me format made a real difference. When I started reading on my Kindle e-reader it helped me see it differently again and it was refreshing. I can’t write notes or cross references and I can’t see how long the chapter is or more than a few verses at a time. Also I’ve appreciated the literature aspect of it more. One thing that has particularly interested me is how the last verses of the chapters stand out when there isn’t another chapter starting immediately below them.

    I’ve also found that there are some things in life that will give one a fresh look at scripture and new eyes to see it. Namely there are things like suffering, tragedy, complicated and difficult situations, trials, etc. From personal experience, I think it’s better to strive for that deeper vision than to have it forced upon one through these means. 🙂

    Thank you for this important and thought-provoking reminder!

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  7. Recently, I’ve had the experienced of meeting two new believers and seeing the Word through their eyes has given me new perspective. So, I think the cure for becoming too familiar is to find new converts and the best way to do that is … share!

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  8. I knew Jesus or at least I knew all about Him before I started reading His Word as a 15-year-old. I remember devouring every word and marking up my Bible like crazy with colored pencils. Sometimes, I do wish for that “falling-in-love-again feeling, but I wouldn’t trade it for the knowledge, wisdom, and growth that comes with time.

    Thanks so much for sharing with Literacy Musing Mondays during the busy holiday season!

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  9. I was back rereading this blog post tonight. Maybe I’m a little weird, but I’m used to it by now, so…I’m going to comment again too. 🙂

    First I thought of this verse: Proverbs 27:7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

    Also, I remembered something that happened to a lady I used to know – something I thought might interest you. Her father-in-law got saved later in life. He could not read, although I think he did start to learn after he retired, but his wife also read the Bible to him. Anyway, his fascination with the stories in the Bible was just like you talk about here. He was so in awe of the things that had happened, things people experienced, and things God did. He would talk about them in such child-like faith and amazement that it really touched the heart of my friend and made her stop and think about how much we take all of it for granted, just like you said. Imagine spending most of your life never knowing how to read and then learning partly for the purpose of reading God’s word. Imagine being an older man and hearing/reading some of the stories of the Bible for the first time! That is something we are used to hearing about in missionary’s stories, not in the U.S.A.

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