I read. I read a lot. I read everything from my Bible, to books, to articles, to sports stats, to cartoons. I read a lot! So I got to thinking last night. Does one need to be careful to not read too much? Are there dangers in reading too much? This I thought on all night and most of today. Indeed there may be something to this thought. Allow me to show you.
#1 Reading can never be underestimated. Reading sharpens our thinking and keeps our brain learning. Reading is healthy. But this only occurs based on the content of what one reads. If I dive into a Louis L'Amour classic western, I am reading for entertainment. I may be thinking, but the thoughts are not requiring much analysis and reason. There is little to apply with this type of reading. And yet, reading for entertainment is good and fun. But too much defeats the purpose.
#2. Reading for information sake is also fun. This is why I read 20 to 30 articles a day. I try to stay informed and learn. But here is a trap. If I only use one type of source for this reading, my learning is not complete. One type of source never ever gets the whole picture. So for a guy as conservative as I am, I read even liberal stuff. Why? I want to see the big picture. I want to learn how and why people think the way they do. What makes a person tick. There is value in learning this. But caution must be used in applying this new found information. Just because I know something doesn't mean anything about me or my abilities. I just know. Big deal. Arrogance of knowledge is a dangerous trap! Knowledge without the understanding to apply is real dangerous. And don't forget, knowing what is good, right, bad, and evil, can be even more difficult.
#3 Reading to change. Now this hurts. When one reads to change, one reads with the idea of instant interaction. This is how we should approach our Bible reading. If, when reading the Bible, all we get is information, no change will occur for the good. But when we read and apply, asking God to change us through His Word, life change occurs in us. And this type of change is so needed.
Of the above three, #3 is the one most needed today. With all the resources available and the push for people to read more, we Pastors really need to highlight #3 in our promotion and encouragement. If we take the first 2 and miss #3 we miss God. If we use the approaches of the first 2 with the Bible and do not apply #3, we are missing God changing us. God is not impressed with how much we know about Him. God desires our transformation - change - in Him!
Technology has allowed me to read more books than I would have ever dreamed. I can read thoughts of people from all over the world instantaneously, but none of that will change me like God can through His Word. Nothing is life giving as the Word of God. And this is what we all need most.
So here is a simple challenge from me to you - take out your Bible. Put away all the other stuff. Ask God to change you via what you are about to read. And dive into the greatest book in all of history, past present and future! The Bible will reconnect knowledge and change in your life. And this connection will be worth more than you will ever dream!