There Are No Shortcuts to Being a Disciple
Some words change over time. One word I detested growing up, has now become beloved.
The word STUDY was an unpleasant word for much of my childhood. I was not the sharpest knife in the drawer and STUDY was the returning thief that kept robbing me year after year. The more it invaded my freewill the more my disdain for school grew. Why couldn’t I willfully choose what topics I wanted to learn and avoid the boring ones that didn’t interest me?
In Elementary School I learned that the teacher’s edition was different than my textbook because it had the answer keys. If only I could get my hands on a copy of their book, then I would ace every test! Oh the time it would save me! In High School, the Cliffs Notes section at the local bookstore caught my eye. Why read a 400-page book you have no interest in when you can buy a short summary of it, complete with a thematic outline? Timesaver!
In my 20s, I was the rookie in a room full of Christian publishing professionals planning for an upcoming release of a new Study Bible. 'Why didn’t more people read the Bible?" was the question we were all trying to tackle. Most everyone agreed to what a great timesaver this edition would be for busy Christians who couldn’t find time for devotional study.
After much banter and brainstorming, the marketing message taking shape was somewhere close to, “Be a better disciple in ONLY 5 minutes a day!” We thought we nailed it until a quiet veteran nearing retirement spoke up, “There are no shortcuts to being a disciple” he said somberly. It was like a needle introducing itself to a balloon; there was nothing more to say.
Studying God’s Word should not be a chore. It does take time, but it’s a joyful time. It never robs and only rewards. Here’s a short reflective list of why I find joy in reading the Bible:
- God reveals Himself and His plan is scripture (John 1:1, 18). Why read a biography when there is an autobiography in print?
- In reading the Bible I find I have new questions and then eventually as I keep reading, many of those will get answered too. The discovery of knowing God is endless (Philippians 3:10).
- The Holy Spirit illuminates the text as our guide of all truth. So, scripture reading provides an opportunity to read with His companionship (John 16:13).
- Scripture is eternal and therefore the joy is everlasting (Matthew 24:35). Plus, scripture tells me my name is written in another eternal book, the Book of Life!