Many times I said it. Even though I had always read the Bible, even from a young child. I read it a lot. I memorized verses even. I believed it was truth, I believed it was the Word of God. And over and over God used His Word to teach me and to speak to me.
But I didn’t love it.
I certainly didn’t desire to read it or look forward to reading it. I did it because I knew it was the “right” thing to do.
Then one day I watched that old “Jesus” movie…. In it Jesus picks up the scroll of the Old Testament in the Temple preparing to read from it. But before he reads Isaiah 61 he kisses the scroll. That simple act convicted me.
I blurted to the Lord in almost desperation: “Jesus, I love You, but I don’t love Your Word. Not like that.”
I knew I loved Jesus. I loved Him with my whole heart and soul and mind and strength. I could see that “in the volume of the book it is written of Him”, I knew that Jesus is the Word made flesh. And it didn’t make sense to me. If He really is the Word made into human flesh, and if I really loved Him, how could I not love His Word as well?
Well of course there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t make myself love it nor desire it.
Actually, there was one thing I could do – and that was to be honest with Him about it.
So I was. I just kept telling the Lord what was in my heart.
“Lord I love You but I don’t love Your Word.”
Then gradually my prayers began to change : “Lord, give me a love for your Word. Make it real to me.”
It took some time, but one day I realized that I could honestly say that I now loved His Word. And I still do. I LOVE it. I desire to read it. I can’t wait to find more treasures in it. I can’t wait to discover my Jesus concealed in the pages of the Old Testament and find His beauty and grace revealed in the New Testament. I love reading the apostles revelations and teachings in the epistles. I often cry as I read it now, I am so blessed with this wonderful, old Book. There is nothing like it.
So what’s the difference now? The Book certainly hasn’t changed.
No, the difference is that now the Holy Spirit is bringing life where before there was death.
This principle is true not only with reading the Word of God, but with everything in the Christian life – doctrine, preaching, church meetings, worship, fellowship, prayer, giving to the poor… it can all be dry and lifeless. It may all be cold, dead duty, ritual or tradition with no life in it if it’s done in the power of the flesh.
Without the Spirit of life breathing His life into something, anything, there is in fact, a ministration of death. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, so when He is in something – whether it is prayer, reading the Word, preaching- there is reality there. There is Life. It rings true to us, it ministers life to us and we are changed by it.
A long, eloquent prayer may bring death…. If there’s no anointing of the Spirit.
A sermon with all the right doctrine may minister death to the hearers…. If it’s not infused with the life of the Spirit.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is not an added bonus or extra in the life of a believer – His ministry of Life is essential. As Watchman Nee said “We either minister life or death. There’s nothing in between.”
Let us pray for the reality of the life of the Holy Spirit in every part of our lives, worship and ministries.
God bless you!