May 17, 2017

Getting Back to the Bible: Godly Foundations

Unlike most good Christians, I presume, I have quite a bit of difficulty reading the Bible. The mere thought of having to turn to the Good Book and read through it is fraught with emotion, be it stress of having to understand what is actually a very difficult book, or memories of past negative experiences with scripture brandished against me, it's not an easy task.

For many years, I avoided the Bible, save for certain times when I was really desperate and down on my luck, hoping that mere time and prayer would solve my problems. As you can imagine, this didn't do my spiritual life a whole lot of good, as avoiding a problem instead of facing it causes it to amplify greatly. 

It's only living in a terrible situation, forcing me to go to church and be surrounded by other believers, which really forced me back into the Bible, especially once I left the situation and my church behind. The following months left me depressed, lonely, and in a worse state than I'd been in before the whole situation.

At first glance, it appeared as if the church had done more harm than good. It's only now that I realised that it was the closeness to God I experienced through being between other believers and then having to leave that family which had caused my depression, or been one of the factors at least.

The separation made it essential for me to read the Bible on my own in order to keep myself in the Word. I spoke Psalms to myself daily in order to combat my depression, which worked...for a while. Ironically, even though I was reading the Bible, I wasn't reading the whole Bible, just a harmless part of it.

Truth be told, I was scared of what I would find in the other sections. Dipping in and out of agnosticism since my early teens, I fell into that trap once again even though I was mumbling scripture to myself all the time. Above all, I lacked faith.

As the Good Book says, faith cometh by hearing...and hearing by the Word of God. The path to true faith is through scripture, and not just certain parts of it. Entire churches are founded on fragments of books in a whole larger collection that is the Holy Bible, hardly focusing on the entirety of the Word, and all of it's difficulties.

Repeating what I said at the beginning, the Bible is probably the hardest book you'll ever read. It's filled with passages which don't make sense to us, moral codes which are problematic to our Western senses (such as the Levitical laws on slavery, rape, homosexuality), and above all, a sense of futility. We are powerless to save ourselves. Our best efforts count for nothing.

It is through reading this difficult book, however, that we can fully comprehend Christ's sacrifice on the cross for us. The pinnacle of the scripture is the Messiah who came from Heaven, died for us, and rose again. All scripture, be they Old or New Testament, points to Christ.

For that very reason, we need to commit to studying it, living it, consuming it daily. Not for the purposes of earthly enlightenment, but for spiritual empowerment, growth, and salvation.

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