I'm a reader. I read novels and blogs. I read emails and essays. I read textbooks and letters. And I read my Bible.
If you're here, you must be a reader too.
I've discovered that when my eyes scan over written words, I fall into similar patterns. I read books quickly without going in depth. I click on an email, my eyes scan over it, and I click away. When I get into a routine, it's dangerous. I'm threatened to miss out on so much.
I want to change that. I want to read things differently and reach their full potential. As a reader and writer and Christian, I don't want to live in routine.
Over the course of the next three weeks, my goal is to encourage you to see things differently, namely reading. I'm going to cover three different labels we give ourselves and see if we can discover something more.
At the end, perhaps we can have a discussion to tie it all together. But let's jump in and find out how to read differently.
It's easy to take words for granted. I do it all the time. We live in an age where knowledge is readily available. At the touch of our fingers, we have access to the endless world of the internet, which can open us up to great opportunities and great danger.
One of the dangers is this: we start to take people for granted. We read blogs, reply to emails, and scan over articles flippantly. We scroll through the many avenues of social media to fill our time. Maybe we do this to fill an emptiness deep inside that would otherwise tear us apart.
But we can't do this anymore. Haven't we hidden long enough? There's a real world out there, and we can't run to the temporary world of novels and media to hide what's inside us.
Words are powerful, but we can't let them take us away from what's most important.
True Believers in love with Jesus are told to love the Lord their God with all (Deuteronomy 6:5). Are we filling our heart and soul and using our strength to read what is building us up? Are we joyfully filling our minds as Christ wants us to with,
Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.
Is reading merely an excuse to run away from life and embrace the exciting world of fictional characters or social media?
Reading in and of itself is not bad. I have been encouraged many times by written words. That's also why I seek to write words that bring hope to others.
The question is why do we read?
But there's another problem readers often run into.
We're surrounded by words. Information runs around us begging for our attention. Authors struggle to find willing publishers because many of them are overwhelmed by the amounts of stories turned in.
The internet is overflowing with articles and blogs and other forms of media. Twenty-six little letters can form millions of words that are twined together to create messages and stories and meanings beyond numbers.
However, we can't let the overflow of words drown out the truth that someone wrote them. An author out there poured their heart into the words. Every sentence you read has meaning and purpose.
A name isn't a number. It's a person. Every message you read and every person you come in contact with has dreams. They're looking for something. So share a little bit of Jesus with them.
A book has an author. An email has a sender. We can't read every story or encourage every person in the world, but we can make a difference in that one person. That doesn't mean you can't leave a negative review when you read a poorly-written book, but in everything we do we must do it to bring a smile to Jesus' face and spread His story of Love.
My friend, don't read because you're "a reader". If you read, do it to grow in Christ or draw others towards His heart.
Each day is made up of minutes, and our lives consist of days. We must live each minute in a way that counts. If we don't, how will our lives ever make a difference?
So teach us to number our days,That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.