GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours
As I close this series of posts I must revisit my childhood faith.
In reflection, just as assuredly as I inherited the color of my skin, my eye color and the rest of my physicals features, I inherited my faith.
Ok, I’ll admit my faith didn’t arrive through DNA but from parents, grandparents, extended family and my tribal church. It was acculturated into my soul.
My inherited faith came gift wrapped with rich blessings as well as barnacles that tightly grasped the ribbons and bow. In a fallen world that is how acquired faith is passed on.
In addition to their love and accurate teaching, my family and my tribal church held some misguided views they perceived as non-negotiable. Those views came from reading their Bible. As today, the influence of fellow interpreters wrongly shaped how they understood some rather important themes within Holy Scripture.
However, from my inherited faith, I received two huge gifts for which I will always be grateful. I was taught that my Bible was inspired by God and that I should read it as the guide for my walk. Second, I was taught to trust Father God.
Rooted in those two gifts my current faith grows in the soil of my soul. Inherited faith massaged over a lifetime was foundational to my adult faith. It is a faith I own and a faith the Holy wants to continue to grow in my soul.
It is the very two gifts received from my inherited faith that sustain my current walk. So today I read my Bible with concern for my own understanding and to grow my relationship to the Holy. I no longer read to prove others wrong or to boost my ego by declaration that I am right while others have it wrong.
It is from a consistent encounter with my Bible and the effort—as feeble as it may be—to apply its principles and teaching to my daily walk that I grow step by step in greater trust of God, Jesus and Spirit.
What about the future?
I find that the way I read my Bible has everything to do with my future.
As I move forward I think of at least seven guidelines I want printed on the lens of my glasses as I read:
1. I want to read my Bible with greater confidence. Confident that little by little the words of Holy Scripture will transform my life in small increments to reflect more Jesus in my walk.
2. I want to read with the realization that my Bible is a conversation between God and me. Our conversation is personal. I read to grow trust and to allow Him to form me and my heart for the next reality.
3. I want to read for service. My faith walk on earth will affect how I treat everyone who crosses my path. So, I want to read my Bible for insight into how I can be used by the Spirit for more effective witness.
4. I want to read my Bible with full awareness that I still have an enormous need for growth. I find that I yet need major Spirit-filled help to see my patience fruit turn from tree-green to a ripe fruit of the Spirit. The over expectation of this baby boomer in an ill-trained public sector is a constant reminder of how far I have to grow.
5. I want to read my Bible with full consciousness of my Adamic-nature. I interpret that to mean I want to read to cultivate humility and more of a non-judgement spirit toward others. Even on my best days I am far from faultless performance. Which moves me to my next point.
6. I want to read my Bible with increased acceptance and expectation of the Holy’s cleansing grace on my behalf. Even after a lifetime, it is still hard to grasp fully that my salvation and daily forgiveness stands on the reality of what Jesus has done. It is a free gift given to me that thrilled heaven when I accepted it.
7. I want to read my Bible with anticipation of the final resurrection. It has never been closer. One of two thing will happen. The finish line of my earth-walk is not too distant. Either, I will cross and wait in timelessness the return of Jesus or He will break into our currently reality and culminate earth into Eternal Holy Presence.
Has any portion of your faith come by way of inheritance? If so, how does that color the way you read your Bible? Does your present Bible reading challenge both your inherited and your current faith?
What seven themes would you identify to shape how you will read your own Bible from this point forward? I would love to hear your insights.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: Inherited Faith, My Bible, The Future