“like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,” (1 Peter 2:2)
It was supposed to be an easy task. Pull up some old tile flooring in the church so we could install a new multi-use flooring. Not only would it make the room warmer and more inviting but opened it up to be sued in ways we had never dreamed of before. Best of all we had the funding. It looked to be an easy project.
Except, of course, when you are dealing with a church, there is never an easy project. There will always be something you hadn’t planned on, hadn’t thought of that will occur. It’s much like beginning a project in your home and then realizing there is underlying issues that will cost you both time and money to repair.
In this case someone discovered that the tiles we were pulling up were Asbestos tiles. And because they were made of asbestos, you had to be more careful with the dust that could rise up from pulling them loose. they had to take extra care in how the tiles were removed and did the best they could to contain any dust that might get in the air. And of course they made sure to wear masks the entire time.
I understood the problem with dealing with asbestos. I’ve had several people in churches who, because of their work, experienced long term exposure to asbestos in the air. This long term exposure lead to some very significant health issues over time. It’s important to note that they didn’t get sick when they first breathed in the asbestos. Maybe they didn’t even notice it at first. But slowly as they were exposed to it day by day, year after year they were affected.
Asbestos isn’t the only hazardous material that does this. You may know of someone who was exposed to a hazardous material, a dangerous chemical at work or in their home. And while it didn’t affect them immediately, or at least they gave no signs it was affecting them it was working in them. Often with devestating, sometimes fatal results.
If we are exposed to something for a long time it will eventually affect who we are. Anyone who has been to a dermatologist to have a basal cell looked at due to too much sun over twenty years can attest to this. It’s almost impossible to be exposed to something and not be affected by it. We should also assume just because we can see no signs at first that something isn’t happening within us.
I think in many ways this is also true with the Word of God. I’ve heard before that the Bible might be the biggest bestseller that no one ever reads. Now we have apps for our mobile devices that allow us to have a Bible, for free, in hundreds of translations, at our fingertips. And yet how many of us ever allow ourselves to be exposed to the Scripture on a daily basis?
Yes, I know many of us read great Christian books. We read devotionals, or something by Max Lucado. We might even have a Christian podcast, or two we listen to. ANd that’s great. But it’s not really the same as sitting down with the actual Scriptures and allowing ourselves to be exposed to them.
Why is that important? Because long-term exposure changes us. Teh Scripture at the top of the blog,along with many others tell us that the Word of God nourishes us, feeds our souls. Yet many of us suffer from malnourishment because of a lack of exposure. The more we expose ourselves to God’s word, reading it daily, the more we will nourished. The more affected for the better we will be.
Yes, I know the common excuse is we can’t understand the Bible. But it’s just that. An excuse. Ask yourself when was the last time you just read the Bible? Did you understand it? As I mentioned earlier, with so many translations available its easier today to have a readable version of the Bible than ever before.
And maybe we have the wrong focus. Perhaps understanding the Bible isn’t th end game. What’s important is that you daily set time aside to be with God in His word. It’s the exposure to the presence of the Holy Spirit as we read that matters. When my children were young they don’t always get, or care about the “lesson” I was trying to teach them. They just wanted to spend time with me. Don’t you think our heavenly father is the same?
Remember, its about long term exposure. Maybe you don’t “get anything out of it” the first time you read the Bible. Or the second, or the one hundredth. But over time an exposure to His word and the presence of the Holy Spirit will change us.
I want to encourage you to get in the habit of reading your Bible every day. Get in the habit, and see what a long-term exposure to the truth and authority of the word of God can do to a person’s heart.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><