Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What Consumes Me

One of my all-time favorite pastimes is reading. Since my Briella Bean's birth in 2012 it is a pastime I let go temporarily because I simply did not have the time to do it - I had more important priorities. I've recently picked it back up, not because I necessarily have "the time" but because I began working part-time at the library as their Cataloguing and Technical Services Librarian. One of the requirements of this job is to catalogue new books into our online consortium. I see all kinds of new books added to the shelves and my "want to read" list grows bigger by the day. I love it!

Plus, I had the honor of heading up the teen summer reading program. In order to encourage them to check out books relating to our program's theme (fitness) I read and book-talk a variety of different books. Despite my situation not changing (in fact its only become busier), I've picked up reading novels once again.

I've thoroughly enjoyed my time spent reading instead of browsing through Facebook, Pinterest, or watching TV. I've stayed up later than I should and started my day with my nose in a book. I also sit in the girls playroom while they chitter-chatter away at whatever occupies their adorable play time. I've somehow managed to read more books in the course of the last couple of months than I ever have since Brielle's birth. I'm not sure what my excuse was then, but it seems ridiculous now. Reading is a far more productive way to spend downtime.

I've always known that stories consume me as I read them. I fall in love with the characters and their story. I cannot wait to find out what happens! Once an author pulls me in, I'm stuck and engrossed. It quite literally consumes me. I see nothing wrong with my delight for books and their stories, but I've been pondering the truth behind what consumes me through our study in 2 Peter. Peter's purpose in writing this letter is to remind his audience to stay firm in God's Word so that when false teachers come, they will be able to sift through the truth. The only source of truth is Scripture and Peter states (in 1:16-21) that the Word is more powerful than his experience of being witness to Jesus' transfiguration (Matthew 17). That is a pretty phenomenal truth. One that cannot and should not be ignored. If what Peter says is true, we need to heed his advice and make every effort to supplement our faith with knowledge in Scripture (1:5-11). If we are diligent, Peter teaches we will be effective and fruitful Christians. Unwavering. Steady.

If I am to be unwavering and steady Peter explains that I need to make every effort to know Scripture and be consumed by it. That has not been my life recently...

What started this convicting realization was a sermon in Isaiah 28. Talk about WOW. The prophet Isaiah is preaching the word of God to Ephraim, Israelites north of Jerusalem. They have become proud, arrogant, and drunk on themselves and Isaiah is asking them, do you want to rest? Listen to God's Word! Do not let it become blah, blah, blah! They have lost their sense of God because they do not listen to His Word. Isaiah tells them over and over and over again, line by line by line that God wants them to REST in HIM but they would not listen. The Word of God became "meh" for them. God was not enough.

Have I become like Israel? 

For a solid month I chose the novel over Scripture, shrugging over that missed time learning about what God has said. I had that "MEH." attitude. I'm ashamed to admit it. I'm working on my third time reading through the Bible and I told myself that was enough. If I don't make every effort to spend time in it, my attitude about it will become meh... blah, blah, blah. 

My thoughts were not consumed by God because I was not spending time in His Word because my attitude about His Word lacked passion.

You see, my thoughts have been so consumed by these books I'm reading that I think of nothing else and all through my day I realize that I'm not making the effort needed to have my mind focused and consumed on God Himself. There's nothing wrong with these books. They're entertaining! The books themselves are not the issue. The issue is me. I am not disciplined enough to make the effort needed to keep them as entertainment and not let the fictional stories and characters take over the thoughts that should be reserved for truth. I need to make every effort to supplement my faith with knowledge. Knowledge does increase with every book I read, but what knowledge specifically is worthwhile? What knowledge is eternal? What knowledge keeps me steadfast in my faith? Scripture. I must make every effort to establish my mind in the truth, that it consumes me and I am stable and sure and unwavering. This takes diligence, effort, discipline - all those qualities I currently lack. I do not intend to read less, but I do intend to be more purposeful in my reading. What I pick up either contributes to my knowledge of God or takes away from it. Right now these seemingly harmless novels are having the opposite effect. Not because they're terrible books - on the contrary! The author is so good that it's her stories and the characters in her fictional writing are what I think about all the time. That is the exact opposite of what Scripture teaches. That is not the fault of the author I speak of, it is my lack of discipline.

So when I spend time in book stores or picking books off the shelf of our local library, I make an effort to pick books that would focus my mind on Him because I want Him to consume me. Until I can pick up a book and enjoy it for what it's worth - fiction - I'll avoid them and let truth take hold of my thoughts.

Let my words and thoughts be YOUR words and thoughts. Consume me, Lord.


One of the things social media has done is to create a perception of perfection. We truly believe that someone else has the perfect life because all we see is their highlight reel. Sometimes I feel like a fool opening up like I have here today, but I do not want you to think I'm flawless or perfect. I'm full of imperfections and am in desperate need of a Savior! I hope that my openness about my weaknesses inspires you in your walk with Christ. I do not want the perception of being someone who "has it all together" all the time, in fact, I want to be viewed as someone who has it together because of my faith in Christ and that I need HIM every hour of every day in order to make that a remote possibility. I earnestly desire that my sharing here helps others to learn as I learn and grow as I grow.

Do not become a stagnant Christian! Join me in making every effort to grow and learn in Christ through Scripture. He gave it as the only true source of eternally valuable knowledge, because it is through the Bible we learn about our Creator, our Savior, our King, our source of LIFE.

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