- February 29, 2012
- 3 Comments
Reading Scripture in order to Love
I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. Jn 15.17
What do you use Jesus’ teaching for? The temptation exists in our Christian world today to read scripture – specifically, the words, teachings and prophetic actions of Jesus – for lesser ends:
- To alleviate my anxiety – Feeling rushed, busy, angry, selfish, worried, afraid we go to scripture to ‘get’ something to quiet our busy mind. Such noise is produced in our brain by our own internal lack of shalom. Reading scripture to ‘shout down’ the noise – adding more noise and busyness (from Jesus) to the already noisy and busy soul – does not lead to love. If you are anxious, nervous, loud inside – try silence, attentive listening and stillness. Jesus’ teaching is for love. When we use it as holy noise to drown out mind clutter we miss out on love. Only from a place of stillness and peace can we receive the implanted word with meekness.
- To bolster my positions - Jesus’ commands undo, subvert, illuminate where there is darkness. Interrogating the text for answers or ammunition puts us in a posture where repentance, conversion, and humility are unwelcome. Indeed scripture does comfort and console…but only if we are genuinely open and expectant to be confronted and converted. We – not THEY – are the intended audience of whatever text is being read. Me – not her – is who should have ears to hear. Read and meditate on scripture to love others starts with allowing scripture to love you – and love burrows down and incubates in a heart ready to repent.
Jesus commands are intended to lead us to love – to be loved, to be in love, to be loving. What good but lesser end interferes with what Christ intends his written Word to do in you? For me, the above two temptations exist, along with: being right, learning more, sermon prep, counseling prep…none of which are bad/wrong…but they are insufficient – and none of them necessarily lead to love.
What practices are needed to allow Jesus’ commands their intended impact?
How are you tempted to truncate the power of scripture by pursuing lesser ends?
Jesus’ commands are not burdensome; his yoke is light and easy. Why do you think we often read despairing over how ‘difficult’ it is to follow Jesus?