Posted by: bellissimanh | February 12, 2009

“It’s a Fashion Statement!”

Nana Fran (aren’t you glad I didn’t call you “Nanny Frannie?”) was knitting a colorful scarf a few weeks ago and it caught Noah’s attention. She asked if he liked it, and he nodded in the affirmative. If you know Fran, you know it wasn’t long before Noah had himself  a beautiful blue scarf, with other bold colors woven into it as well. He even got a hat to match.

scarf

Noah LOVES his scarf. I was hard pressed to get it OFF him for several days.

I was getting him ready for ski day a couple of weeks ago, and noticed he didn’t have his scarf. When I asked him if he wanted me to get it, he replied with, “Nah… it’s really not for keeping me warm. It’s more of a fashion statement.”

I cracked up laughing on the spot and he just kind of smiled and insisted that his “turtle” neckwarmer would be much better for skiing. I don’t think he really got why I was laughing, but that’s ok. 🙂

There are many Christians in this world who operate on a similar philosophy. According to a survey from The Barna Group conducted in July of 2008, 84% of Americans described themselves as Christian. That’s a staggering figure, don’t you think? And yet, another recent poll indicated that 35% of born-again Christians do not read the Bible at all. In addition, Rhodes reports that among those who say they read the Bible, the vast majority only read it during the one hour they attend church each Sunday morning. These are not statistics of America in general… they are based on respondents who consider themselves born again believers.

I can’t help but think of Noah and his “fashion statement” scarf. We have such a treasure in the Word of God — a precious gift from our Heavenly Father that is sweeter than honey on the honeycomb, and yet at the same time sharper than any double-edged Sword. It is soothing and comforting, and at the same time holds conviction and correction. It contains beautiful poetry and thunderous prophecy. It reveals our biblical heritage and history, and also gives glimpses into the future our Lord has planned for us. It has all the high drama and intensity of a suspense thriller, and the romanticism and longing of a passionate love story. 

And yet in most American homes, it sits on the shelf… unread. Certainly it’s not for lack of abundance. We have every type of Bible imaginable in our stores. Greek/Hebrew editions, the Rainbow Bible, women’s devotional Bibles, men’s Bibles, study Bibles, chronological Bibles, literal translations, paraphrases, dynamic equivalents… you can read the Bible online (in nearly any translation) and even get a Bible  that will load on your Blackberry.

And yet in spite of our unlimited access to the Word of God, check out what a recent Gallop poll reveals:

“…about six in ten Americans (59%) say they read the Bible at least on occasion, with the most likely readers being women, non-whites, older people, Republicans, and political conservatives. Readership of the Bible has declined from the 1980s overall, from 73% to 59% today. The percentage of frequent readers, that is, those who read the Bible at least once a week, has decreased slightly over the last decade, from 40% in 1990 to 37% today. About one American in seven reports an involvement that goes beyond reading the Bible. Fourteen percent currently belong to a Bible study group. In terms of frequency of readership, 16% of Americans say that they read the Bible every day, 21% say they read it weekly, 12% say they read the Bible monthly, 10% say less than monthly and 41% say that they rarely or never read the Bible. ”

Being engaged in the Word is critical to our spiritual growth, but I fear that in today’s society — even in many of our churches — the Bible has become a fashion statement, much like Noah’s scarf. I realize that if you’re reading this, then you are most likely among the one in seven who not only reads the Word, but experiences an “involvement” with it… so this feels  a bit like preaching to the choir. A bit.

I say that because I know sometimes, I fall short of giving the Word it’s proper place in my life. Maybe our time spent in the Word could be deeper. Maybe we could do a better job of saturating our minds with the Truth… of comitting it to memory… of using it to answer our children’s questions. Perhaps the next time we encounter a challenging situation, our first inclination could be to go to the Word itself, instead of rushing to the friend who always seems to have the answers and is able to rattle the Scripture off. I’m not saying godly counsel is a bad thing… but human counsel can never replace the power that lies in letting the Lord speak to us directly through His Word. So that’s where the Lord is convicting me. While I am thankful to be one who knows the Word has direct involvement in my life… there’s always room for improvement, amen?

That said, I think we would be amazed at the number of believers in our midst – even in our churches – who fall into those other percentiles. And so I’m wondering… what can we do to help create a thirst for more of the Word in our churches and individual fellowships? Ultimately, it is the Lord Himself who will generate that desire in the hearts of His people, but since He often chooses to use us to bring about His will on this earth, is there more that we can do to fan the flames of the Holy Spirit and stir up a craving for the Word of God in our churches today?

Pray for them –

“Far be it from me that I should sin in failing to pray for you.” (1 Samuel 12:23)

“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him…” (Ephesians 1:17)

Has God spoken to your heart through His Word? There is perhaps no better way to generate excitement for God’s Word in the hearts of other believers than by sharing our own personal testimony of just how alive and powerful the Word has been in OUR lives!

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)

What about having our love of Scripture serve as a model for others who will see how we delight ourselves in the Word of God?

“And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth…” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8a)

Father, Your Word is so much more than an accessory to this Christian life. It is a necessity. From Psalm 119 alone You have impressed upon my heart that Your Word is to be learned, to be kept. It is righteous and brings cleansing. When I hide it in my heart, it can stop me short before I stumble into sin. Your Word contains wondrous things… things beyond my comprehension. It serves as my comfort, and my counsel. Your Word has the power to revive me… to strengthen me. When I apply myself to meditating on Your precepts, You will be faithful to increase my understanding… to show me the way in which You would have me walk. Your Word keeps me focused on things worthy of my attention… and keeps my eyes off of those things that would pull me from You. My salvation lies in Your Word, Lord… and freedom! Thank You for giving me this incredible treasure. Help me to never take it for granted, Lord. Help me to feast on it… to memorize it… to meditate on it… to make it part of me. Let others see my excitement over Your Word and to crave it for themselves. Let the light in my eyes when I speak of Your testimonies be something that draws others to You. Create a thirst for more of Your Word in our churches today, Lord. Not for the watered down version that so many are receiving, but for the weighty things that are the foundational teaching of our faith. Your Word was meant to be LIVED, Father… help me to make it so in my life. Forgive me for the times when I have not given Your Word the proper respect or place in my life. Empower me to move forward with renewed commitment to changing that. And bless me for my efforts, Lord. Rain down and reign down… show Yourself to be everything Your Word says that You are. Your Word is so much more than a fashion statement in my life… it is my source of strength and hope. I love You, Lord.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Heather you leave me speachless and all I can do is shake my head. Jesus has definately given you the gift of writing and the knowledge to know how and what to say. I love reading all of them and they all touch my inner heart with a message of truth. You talk about “iron sharping iron” sometimes that is exactly what they do for me. I know and see how God is working through you and how He is using you to reach others. How He is using everything in your life, even Noah to use as examples of Him in all we do, say, and think. I think you should write books. Well, enough said. Thank you Jesus for the way You are using Heather. We love her for her willingness to obey and give of herself for all.

  2. I think Noah looks great in his scarf and hat and appreciate you comparison to using the Bible as a “fashion statement”

  3. That’s my boy. Thru your message I keep hearing the Pioneer Club song. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
    Psalm 119:105
    How dark my days are when I have not been in His word. Tell Noah that Nana loves him BIG MUCH.

  4. Adorable story, but sobering statistics.

    Xandra

  5. Perhaps we “create a thirst” by living thirsty. In other words, people are tired of hearing one thing and watching another. We gain a moral authority and integrity when we live openly and honestly what we believe. When we show we are truly thirsty for God, and that God does satisfy, then we are pointing people to a relationship they were created for, not a religion the feel they must observe.

    Excuse me. I have to go get a drink…

  6. I’m thankful that in our home, it’s not a fashion statement.

    Yet sadly I know of a few homes personally that this proves to be extremely true.

    Happy Valentine’s

  7. Excellent post. I’m trying very hard not to let it be a fashion statement; it never hurts to have some encouragement along the way when I start to slack!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: