You don’t have to be married to know that sometimes, listening is not always easy. I get tired, hungry, and grumpy (usually in that order). I get distracted by pointless things like games on my phone or computer. I selfishly want to interrupt and brag about my day when she is telling me about hers. Yet I will still listen and engage in conversation with her. Why is this important?
There are two things at work here. First, she is honoring me by talking with me. In her sharing she is saying “you are worthy to hear about my day and my thoughts. You are worthy to share in my life.”
Second, I get to honor her by listening. If I listen only when I want, what honor does that give her? However, if I am tired, hungry, grumpy, and decide that listening to her is worth more than satisfying those urges, I give her honor.
The connection to reading the Bible is this: when we decide to sit down and read scripture when “our heart isn’t in it,” we give honor to God. It is a unique opportunity that only exists when we don’t want to read. You are saying “God you are worthy of my time and my devotion even when I don’t feel like it,” and you are accepting God’s invitation of “you are worthy to hear my thoughts and share in my life.”
After getting over the barrier of listening or reading we will find ourselves happy that we persevered. I have never regretted listening to my wife. I have never regretted reading the Bible. Even if my motivation and attitudes were not in the right place, the end result is blessing.
I will leave you with some practical advice:
Read a christian book
The Bible can be overwhelming. Almost any other book is easier to read cover to cover, and there are so many great Christian books out there steeped in the Bible. None of these are replacements for the Bible, but they can help us engage with the Word of God. They offer a path to guide us into exploring scripture.
I have found that choosing a book by a reputable pastor or theologian helps me stay connected with God’s word on a regular basis. However in reading these books I must be willing to, at the slightest nudge, stop and engage God through prayer, reflection, and further study of His Word. Let me emphasize that Christian books are not a replacement, but a guide to lead us into God's Word.
It is important to remember, as A.W. Tozer puts it, “The Bible is a supernatural book and can be understood only by supernatural aid.” If we approach the Bible as we would Harry Potter, we will be disappointed and discouraged. There are layers of meaning and encouragement in each passage which can only be illuminated by God’s grace.