Imagine someone coming up to you, someone you’ve known from a distance, and they ask you to go out with them sometime. You’ve seen them around before on different occasions and your interest has been piqued many times as to who this person truly is, but until now you’ve never called out to them. However, in this moment, this person you hardly know is kindly asking to go out with you. And, smiling, you say yes.
Then the appointed time comes to meet that person for dinner and, instead, you send someone else in your place. To keep things simple, let’s call this someone else Janice. Janice agrees to go in your stead and updates you on how it went. You love what she tells of the occurrences at the restaurant, so much so you believe you could really grow to like the person you sent her to meet. You are grateful she arranged to meet with this person next week on the same day at the same time. Yet, as time moves onward, you continue again and again to send Janice in your stead, only committing to the relationship by hearing it play out through Janice. Eventually, the relationship grows to the point that instead of every week, Janice is in contact with them every day. After that initial point when this person asked you out, you never see their face again, only getting the messages Janice forwards. Somehow, though, you continue to manage a relationship with this person through Janice until one day you hear wedding bells.
Suddenly, you’re standing at the altar, staring at a face you hardly know and barely even remember. In that moment you realize you don’t actually know this person. Everything you’ve heard or imagined about them is solely based on what Janice has told you. What if she’s lied all this months and years? What if this fact is true but that fact isn’t? What if she isn’t the faithful friend you thought she was and is secretly hoping this relationship falls apart because deep down she really wasn’t your friend to begin with, just someone who was bored?
The thing is, friends, this is exactly what it means to NOT read your Bible. Let’s break it down, shall we? The person you hardly know who takes interest in you is Jesus. He comes to the door of your heart and knocks, asking you to accept the gift of salvation He offers and to be allowed into your heart so that He may begin to work in you. All He askes in return is that you confess you’re a sinner and admit that you need Him as your Lord and Savior.
If you haven’t prayed for Jesus to come into your heart and confess that you need Him and that you’ve sinned, please stop here and pray. It’ll change your life! I guarantee it! If you’re already saved, then that means you said yes to His askance to enter the door. Then He waits for you to come forth and get to know Him better. Isn’t that amazing?! He already knows who you are, knew who you were before you were born into this life, but after rescuing you from the darkness still waits patiently for you to WANT to know Him better. He waits for you to want to know Him more than just your Lord and Savior, to know Him as a friend. Better yet, as a BEST friend. And the only way to do so is to read scripture. Pick a time and a place that you are willing to meet with God to read and pray.
Going back to our story, we’ve talked about the part where you’ve agreed to meet with this person at a designated time and place in hopes of getting to know them. However, in the story you send someone else instead of going yourself. The real life version: listening only to the one speaking on Sundays and in the Bible Study group but never diving into God’s word yourself. Ladies and gentlemen, how are we to know who God is if we don’t read what He has written for us to get to know Him by?
We all know what an autobiography is, it’s a book about the person who wrote it so that the reader who picks it up and cracks open the spine can get to know and understand who the author is. That is what the Bible is! It’s the autobiography God chose to give us so that we know who it is that loves us tremendously, no matter how dirty our soul is when we come to Him. He is the Good, Good Father who washes us clean and adopts us into His family. He wants to help us and to care for us, but in order to do that we have to trust in Him. And we build up that trust within ourselves by reading and living out scripture.
The last point I want to make is in relation to the last bit of our story. We’re standing at the altar on the day of the wedding, staring at someone we don’t really recognize and doubting the friend we initially sent in our stead. The wedding day is symbolism for the end of time when Jesus returns to collect His bride, which is the church, the people who are saved. Yet, there will be those who will not recognize Jesus upon His return simply because they didn’t know Him:
“He said to them, ‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us’.”
But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from’.”Luke 13:23b-25
So if you’re meeting Him for the first time when He has come to collect His bride and you have yet to know Him in your heart, He will deny knowing you. If you’re saved, then you are okay. However, I must ask that, if you are saved, do you believe — looking at your life right now — if you died tomorrow you could speak of your life for Christ as Paul did:
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:6-8
To get to know God only through the words of others is to not really want to know Him. It becomes a cold and distance relationship that never warms the heart nor brings about joy. The reliance on others in order to know God is to put more faith in people than God Himself. At the very end of the story, the fictional you began to doubt everything Janice told you. In order to be certain that what our shepherds — our pastors, priests, etc. — are telling us is the truth, we must be in the Word and testing our shepherds. Even they need to be held accountable, too. To not be in the Word, to not test the preachings of our shepherds is to risk eternity with our loving, Heavenly Father on one imperfect person.
I encourage you to please, please read your Bibles. Jesus is waiting for you to want to know Him. He is ready to share what He has in store for you. He wants to help you grow into the person He created you to be. God has a plan for you and your life, and He is sitting right there in the living room of your heart waiting on you. So grab your Bible, have a seat, be still, and know that He is God.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”James 1:22