The Bible can either be a transformative conversation between us and the infinite Spirit of God or a book that we read to reinforce our own ego, prejudices, politics, atheism, abuse, pathology, sports team, perspective on astroturf, etc. How can we have a genuine transformative experience as opposed to reinforcing what we already need to have freedom and healing from?
Prayer: To start with we need prayer. Ask God to change us and to reveal what we are blind to. This isn’t one and done. Its talking to God through prayer and scripture in an ongoing relationship that is loving but very challenging and transforming.
Knowing Christ is knowing the goal: Our goal is to become Christ like. What does that look like??? Christ always aligned Himself with the marginalized and the rejected members of society, always pushed back on self righteous religion, prayed for His enemies, turned over the tables of con men profiting off of God’s name, and laid down His life for people. That’s the goal. We are told to count the cost of following Christ because there is a sacrifice and a transformation in doing so.
Knowing God is knowing our truest Self: We have described Christ’s consistent behavior in the Bible. Now here are a few scriptures to consider when looking at the goal of scripture reading for our lives.
God IS love says 1st John 4:16. “Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in Him.” This is a very declarative statement. That is the substance and character of God as shown in Christ. In Gen 1:27 the Bible says that we are made in God’s image. We are made to look like love. Jesus said that they will know that you are my children by your love for one another- John 13:35.
What is love like??? 1st Corinth 13:4 describes it as always patient, kind, not rude or resentful, always protecting. If this kind of change isn’t happening then there is not a relationship with God transforming us. If we use the Bible in a way that produces more hate, bitterness, more justification for greed or selfishness then the Bible says that we are relating to it incorrectly. If we are seeking through prayer, to be transformed into Christ (who is God who is Love), than we find that Spirit that is love manifesting in our lives.
Community is necessary:
The Bible calls us to community that is like this. That means that being an isolated Christian is not the Way. It also means that communities must look Christ like and loving to be authentic. Do not give over fully to a leader who is not CURRENTLY living this way. If they represent Christianity without this transformation at all then plant elsewhere. We need to surround ourselves with flawed people who are growing in this way. If they acknowledge that they are flawed on EQUAL LEVEL with everyone else but are becoming more loving and free that is a great 1st step in finding a community transformed in conversation with God.
Prayer: God who is love, please remove all that is blocking me from becoming my truest self in you. Please fill me with your Spirit and open me to recieving your word for me today. Show who you are through your love magnified in my life.