Our lungs are designed to inhale and exhale. Have you ever tried only exhaling? It’s impossible! At some point you run out of air…and then pass out! Likewise, our souls where meant to inhale and exhale. We were meant to work and to rest. Some of us go entire days without taking a break. Some of us go weeks! If you neglect this rhythm, it means you are crazy busy. It will make your soul sick. You will burn out.
Remember that to keep ourselves from becoming crazy busy, we need clear purpose so we know what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. As Christians, we believe that this calling comes from God. At the Vineyard we believe that God speaks both through his Voice and his Word. The two will never contradict. By his voice, we mean that his Holy Spirit will nudge us during times of prayer and worship through words or visions. By his Word, we mean the Bible, which is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Remember that God’s Word not only leads us in what it teaches, but also helps us to know God’s character.
There are basically three different ways to explore the Bible.
1. We read the Bible exegetically by digging into the specific words or phrases in a text. We do this to let the text speak for itself instead of reading our own meaning into it.
2. We read the Bible theologically by connecting the text to the big picture. We never want to lose sight of some of the main and plain teaching of the Bible like: the gospel, grace or the Kingdom of God.
3. We read the Bible contemplatively by receiving in our heart what God wants to give us for the day. The key word here are “receive” and “heart.” When we read the Bible this way, we slow down and let the words simmer in our soul. We remind ourselves that we are in God’s presence and let the Holy Spirit speak to us in the text. Unlike reading the Bible exegetically or theologically (where our mind is an active player), when we read contemplatively we are receivers. It’s much like sitting by a fire and receiving its warmth and light. Like the warmth of a fire, we can feel God’s presence. Like the light a fire gives off, we let the Bible cast light on our lives.
All three ways of of reading the Bible are valid, and in fact all three should be used. But for many, we are too busy to read the Bible in a contemplative way. Even if our schedules aren’t crazy busy, sometimes our minds are. We find ourselves in a constant state of analyzing.
Jesus clearest teaching on busyness comes from Luke 10:38-42 when he visits two of his closet friends. Read slowly 2-3 times:
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
What word or phrase sticks out to you?
Jesus say to Martha, “you are worried and upset about many things.” What are some of the things that have you worried or upset in this season of life?
What is Jesus saying to you that is applicable to you today?