I remember someone writing “not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Christians should be readers, too.
Our reading expands our imagination which helps us think with more creativity. The more we read the better we can understand differing perspectives and opinions. And that’s not saying anything about all we can learn from the world in our reading.
I took part in an elementary school reading event last week. The school librarian had printed some notes for me to make sure to share with the students. She told me she needs all the help she can get to encourage kids to read.
If children are a part of your world, let them see you read.
Now, what does this have to do with our faith in Jesus? The final words of Revelation emphasize its written word. It’s a repeated theme of the Bible: do not add to or remove from what you read in the book. The Lord wants all people to hear the same message of faithfulness and trust. If we change the book, how can they be obedient to God?
The assumption in that commandment is that the saints will read the book. Most generations heard Revelation read. That’s still an important practice today, but a different conversation.
How many saints today do not read the Bible? How many of them say it’s hard to understand? When I dig a little more, a lot of those same Christians don’t have trouble reading the Bible. They just don’t like the reading. They’d rather watch the movie or new tv series.
Let me encourage you to read the Bible more and to read more period. Considering the benefits we mentioned before, make reading a spiritual discipline. Oh, there’s another word we don’t like. But that’s how we wait patiently for the return of Christ.
Consider this next point also. The more you read, the more you have to pass on to newer Christians. Plus, how will we know if anyone adds or takes away from the promises of God if we aren’t even reading them to begin with?
If you make your bed, you must lie in it. That adage isn’t always true, but true enough times to count on. Do the crime, do the time is another old nugget that reminds us there are ramifications for the things we do. And we get that. We don’t like if people get off too easy. At least, other people.
But something strange happens when we think of God and consequences. Since God casts our sins into the depth of the sea, we assume that means everything goes with it. Well, grace redeems us, frees us and forgives us, but it doesn’t always spare us. Consequences aren’t a part of the grace formula.
When nothing but the blood of Jesus washes away our sin, there are times we get a clean slate to go with it. That is, the trouble, hurt or harm we may have caused is rectified as well. Praise God when that happens because it doesn’t always happen.
There are many more times the consequences of what we’ve done linger. We should understand that’s not judgement from God. And I don’t say that in a negative way. It’s a reality we need to ensure we understand. In the name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven! But if we expect forgiveness to erase any and all repercussions, you might be greatly disappointed.
Jeremiah 30 has one of the great prophecies-within-a-prophecy. God promises to “restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob.” The sound of joy will make the feeling of thanksgiving so evident. One day things will be so different than they are today.
But there’s still today.
Of course, the today we’re talking about is exile. The people will still face the consequence of their disobedience. They will still suffer. Part of God’s promise is that the city will be rebuilt. You understand the impact of that when you realize it will be destroyed first.
Why doesn’t God just flush away all the real-world consequences of our sin? I’m not sure. Maybe because they often affect other people. Maybe we need to learn to appreciate how much our actions or inactions can burden others, too.
Whatever the reasons, may we continue to trust God through them. And may we take great comfort in knowing God has redeemed us even when the consequences we face linger.