Confession time: I am a huge Beatles fan. Hidden away in those messy closets of mine are Beatles magazines, t-shirts, records, a Paul McCartney figurine, postcards and more. I have the CDs and movies and have been trying to get my kids to sing Beatles songs since they learned “Old MacDonald.”
So, this weekend, my husband gave me an amazing gift–the chance to see the Beatles in concert.
I know what you’re thinking, where’d the time machine come from and when can you borrow it?! Really, we went to see four guys amazingly like the Beatles perform the songs with an entire orchestra behind them. It was great. More than great. If I closed my eyes, I wouldn’t be able to tell you Paul McCartney hadn’t flown in from England to sing his songs to me. Even with my eyes open, it was hard to tell, especially with the Sergeant Pepper outfits and groovy glasses. I loved every minute of it, even “I Am The Walrus!”
It was as close as I could possibly get to hearing the Beatles sing and it was a fantastic “next best thing.”
Being there, though, made me think how often we as Christians are willing to be satisfied with the “next best thing” when we don’t have to be. It’s not like me with the Beatles, where the source is gone and the time has past. We Christians can choose whether to go to the source or accept an interpretation.
We read the Christian books, study our devotional every morning, fill in the blanks in the bulletin about the Sunday sermon, sing with the Christian radio station and travel to arenas to hear our favorite Christian speakers. And all those things can be great.
Obviously, I wouldn’t keep writing this blog if I didn’t think talking about God’s Word mattered. I’m an avid reader of Christian books and I love listening to others teach about the Bible.
I believe that God blesses us with Christian writers, authors and leaders who help us learn how to study the Bible and apply it to our lives. What if we stopped there, though? What if we only read and listened to people “interpreting” Scripture for us and never read God’s Word for ourselves?
In Exodus 20:18-20, the Israelites did just that. They told Moses: “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die” (verse 19, NIV). In other words, they said, “We’ll pass on the whole talking to God directly thing. How about we just listen to whatever He tells you.”
I get where the Israelites were coming from. Sometimes God’s Word is daunting or overwhelming. Sometimes it tells me what I need to hear instead of what I want to hear and that bruises a bit. The Israelites were afraid. They saw the lightning and smoke around the mountain and heard the trumpets blaring and the thunder when God came down on the mountain. God’s glory astounded them and it says “they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance.”
My heart aches to think that sometimes I stay at a distance instead of willingly meeting with God one on one. I’m missing out on the fullness of what He has for me and instead just accepting what He’s given someone else. It’s as if I’m offered a brand new outfit and I choose hand-me-downs instead.
But, the Bible is God’s intimate and personal revelation of Himself to us. He wants us to:
Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night (Deuteronomy 11:18-21, MSG)
Yes, we’re busy. Life is noisy and hectic and finding “quiet time” seems impossible. Yes, sometimes it’s hard to understand the Bible or we don’t know where to begin. We might even be afraid of what might happen when we meet with God one on one. What kinds of mess will He ask to clean out of our hearts? What kind of life changes will He want us to make?
God invites us to have one-on-one time with Him and sometimes, because of these excuses, we turn down His invitation. We settle for the “next best thing” and life seems fine that way. Then, life gets hard. It’s in those difficult times that we desperately need that deeply personal, relevant and real relationship with God.
Please, keep reading the Christian books and listening to Christian speakers. Let them be an encouragement and challenge to you. Watch how others apply the Bible to their lives and implement that in your own life.
But, don’t stop there. Go up on the mountain yourself and meet with God. Get His Word deep inside you, think about it and talk about it, take it “Here, There and Everywhere” (I couldn’t resist a Beatles reference!) and let God use it both to transform you to be more like Christ and to draw you into a closer relationship with Him.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King