You’re maybe sitting exams at the minute or just recovering from them. That’s good, because the whole issue of “revision techniques” will be quite fresh in your head (although perhaps not your favourite topic at the mo!).
I wonder have you ever got caught out in an exam where you realised that all the stuff you thought you knew wasn’t really in your head at all? It’s a real sinking feeling, isn’t it? You felt you’d spent time on it, made loads of revision notes and used every colour of highlighter from the new pack you bought specially, but when it comes to the crunch the facts just don’t seem to have gone in.
It can be a bit like that with our approach to the Bible.
We often talk about “reading the Bible”, but how much of what we read really changes us and sticks with us? Can we always remember what we’ve read? If I’m honest I know I’m sometimes guilty of a quick skim read with my mind on other things that I couldn’t remember an hour later; but at times like this I’m the loser! You see it tells us in 1 Corinthians 3 v 12 that there are two ways we can build on the foundation that’s laid when we become Christians:
If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.
Let’s think about how this verse might apply to our approach to reading the Bible. There are two ways we can go about this and two results we can have.
- Gold, silver, costly stones – these are cherished things, because they take effort and time to find. Real gems have to be mined out of the ground, not just gathered up. But how special to find one! They’re beautiful, they’re valuable and they last forever. They bring beauty wherever they’re placed.
- Wood, hay, straw – there’s nothing special about these things. They’re just lying on the ground and easy to pick up. They don’t last and won’t bring beauty.
Do you get it?
I’d read that verse so many times but never saw this in it before. We can read our Bibles in two ways – just go to the surface, read a few verses to stop ourselves feeling guilty, maybe ‘gather up’ a few thoughts someone else has written about the verses, then leave it there. This is the wood and hay we pick up. It won’t make lasting changes in our lives and it won’t help us to reflect God’s beauty.
But then there’s the other way, the way that God wants us to come to Him, because He wants to make us beautiful. This other way requires effort and time. We’ll have to persevere, because some days may be discouraging when we struggle with what we’re reading, but it’ll always be worth it, when we see the reward of the sparkle of that gem that we eventually find. Finding the gem or speck of gold are the times when God’s Word jumps out at us, His Spirit applies it to our lives and to our situations and He changes us through it. Those are the gems that we want to tell our friends about, that make us excited because we know for sure that my God is real and alive because He spoke to me this morning!
Do you want to find gems?
Do you want God to show you beautiful things? Things so beautiful that when we grasp and hold them, even our ugly lives can reflect this beauty?
Then let’s go digging!
PS. Still needing some inspiration to ‘Come mine with me’? Then click on the link below to have a look at my all-time favourite miners at work (happy little chaps that they are). I love to watch those diamonds sparkle all around them just waiting to be released as they dig away!