The Message Version… Colossians 1:5-6
“The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. It doesn’t diminish or weaken over time. It’s the same all over the world. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you. From the very first day you heard and recognized the truth of what God is doing, you’ve been hungry for more.”
If you are a Christian, it is in your spiritual DNA to hunger for more of Jesus. That hunger can be chocked by other pursuits. Even religious pursuits. But that hunger is always present if we will simply stop long enough to recognize what it is.
That hunger is always present. It just needs to be watered a little. Reading a book that reveals Christ … or hearing a message where the riches of Christ and the deep things of God are unveiled … causes that hunger to be watered and even awakened.
It is that very hunger that causes many to leave the institutional church and to seek the experience of the true body of Christ, the organic Church, where they experience body life. Boiled down to the basics, a longing for a real church experience in a real body of Christ is really a hunger for more of the Lord.
In my opinion, if a ministry is not utterly centred upon and revealing Jesus Christ in ever-greater depths, it will eventually wear out in your life. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only thing that never wears out. Everything else grows thin eventually … and that includes the 1001 religious and spiritual things that Christians chase after today.
In my personal experience, I have inside me a hunger to know more and learn more. It is a hunger that is tangible. I can feel it. It cries out to me, “feed me, feed me.” Whenever I stop reading for a few days – reading my Bible AND reading other books (see below) there is this deep cry inside to learn more, know more, and to grow. My inner man needs feeding.
Whenever that feeling rises strong on the inside I can look back and realize that it has been a week or so since I last made time to sit and read a book. And, I can look back and discover that I have been surface reading my Bible and not digging deep into the truths contained in the Word of God.
I hear myself and others say that time is lacking in our daily schedules to regularly read. I don’t believe it. We always find time for what we deem to be important. I recently realized that some evening when I am home and not on the road ministering I watch two episodes of a series we are working through on Netflix. That’s 3 hours of television. Good program but not a good use of my time. So, I have taken up watching just one episode and then excusing myself, going to my study, and reading for 90 minutes. There is always time for what is important to us. And, feeding the hunger in my spirit is important to me.
It is simply a matter of priorities and setting goals.
It is easy enough to take a new book off the shelf on Sunday, see how many chapters there are (or pages) and divide by seven. That is what you need to read each day to finish a book in a week. Think about how much you would grow if you read 52 books a year. It is really not that difficult to imagine reading that much if you make it a priority in your life and then plan how it is going to be accomplished.
Try it – you just might like it.
I mentioned ‘other books’:
I read classics (Currently reading Phantom of the Opera).
I read current novels so I stay current with what non-believers are reading (currently reading “Camino Island” by John Grisham).
I read books on the Church so I am growing in my understanding and seeing ‘church’ from someone else’s vantage point (currently reading “Irresistible” by Andy Stanley)
I read books on leadership (currently reading “Integrity” by Henry Cloud)
I read books to help with my teachings (currently reading “Wisdom of the Jedi” by Dick Staub)
I read books on Jesus (currently reading, “The Challenge of Jesus” by N.T. Wright)
I read biographies (currently reading “Bruchko” by Bruce Olson)
And on the list could go. And, yup, I have more than one book on the go at the same time.