I was 18 years old when I first went to Bible College. I was so excited for everything God was doing and going to do in my life. I remember going to chapel each week and loving everything about it, and I remember so many things that the different preachers would say. One of the things I remember one of them saying was, “be careful not to fall into reading your bible just to get your homework done but read it each day so God can speak to you.” I remember thinking that would never happen to me. How could I ever treat the word of God like that? How could I treat the bible like just another textbook? I thought it could never happen until it did. It was a mix of life getting busy, homework piling up, laziness, and just getting stuck in the routine of Christianity rather than a relationship with the Lord.
It was only a matter of time before I became a bible school student who was only opening my bible to do my homework. Sadly, the problem didn’t stop there. And as the saying goes: what we don’t take care of in our youth will follow us into adulthood. It was only a matter of time until I went from a bible school student to pastor. I went from only opening my bible to do my homework to only opening it up to work on a sermon.
It is a very dangerous path to be on when you are not in your word. In full transparency, that’s who I was for quite a long time. I began thinking verses of the day were enough when people were depending on me to pour into their life! If we are not in our word, what are we really pouring into people? I know in my heart that not reading my word was the start of a downward spiral.
I am writing about this for two reasons: 1) You can’t be a healthy minster if you are not reading your bible, and 2) It is so easy to look towards ministry more than we look towards a relationship with God. We idolize gifts more than the gift giver. I feel like I have had seasons in my life where I strived to be a minister more than I have strived to have a relationship with God. And the truth is, you can’t have one without the other. It reminds me of being a bible school student and seeing people fall for people’s gifts rather than the person they are. We are attracted to gifts and talents but how can those things compare to a living God who loves us?! It happens though- let’s be honest.
We can’t just strive to be a preacher; we have to strive to be a preacher who has a relationship with God. Don’t just crave a title or position. Crave a relationship with God and feed the hunger with moments at His feet and in the word. Lack of relationship with God leaves room for relationships that can pull us away from Him. I have seen it happen so quickly in my life and I never want to go back to that place again. It may take creating new healthy habits in your life, but you can overcome. If you have breath in your lungs, you have opportunity to create new healthy habits. Let’s strive to be leaders who are drenched in God’s presence!