I don’t wake up in the morning and reject all scientific proof that exercise is good for me. (After all, I have a gym membership. Doesn’t that count?) Neither do I consciously decide or declare, “I will NOT go to the gym today!” But too often I don’t go, and I have to acknowledge that I chose not to go. In choosing to do other things, I reject the choice to go to the gym.
Okay, so now 99% of us feel all guilty and ashamed about our bodies and that we don’t exercise enough! Way to go, Pastor Ewan! But my point here isn’t to induce a guilt or shame trip. So, put shame and guilt aside for a minute. My point is the subconscious but influential nature of many of our choices. It’s about the way our minds and souls operate. It’s about the frustration we feel along with the Apostle Paul in Romans 7: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
My particular point this week is the subconscious influences that operate in our neglecting and rejecting God’s Word. Consider churches like ours (churches in our conservative PCA denomination). You’ve heard me allude to this before. 200 churches/pastors in our denomination were surveyed regarding their preaching, and over a 3-year period:
- 100% had preached from the Gospel of John and from Paul.
- 96% had preached from the Matthew, Mark, or Luke.
But . . .
- Less than 33% had preached from Acts,
- Less than 33% from the Major Prophets,
- Only 25% had preached from the Old Testament poets,
- Only 16% from the Minor Prophets (mostly Jonah),
- Only 11% had preached from any of the historical books of the OT.
Consider “conservative” Christians like us: a significant majority of professed Christ followers do not open God’s Word devotionally 3-4 days of the week.
How did we get here? What’s going on? It’s like with the gym. We don’t declare our rejection of God’s Word. We don’t affirm our neglect. But here we are . . . again, and again, and again. How does this happen and what can we do about it?
This Sunday, and next week in our Daily Worship Devotions, we will be considering “Neglecting & Rejecting God’s Word” in Amos 2:4-3:2. Take some time to read and reflect on the passage. As you do that, reflect also on this quote from C.S. Lewis:
“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things– the beauty, the memory of our own past– are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us.
But the golden echo, which gives beauty back to beauty’s maker and joy to the fount of joy, rings clear and true and eternal. It whispers in the wind, calling us to remember the Word we first heard. The proverb reminds us, “Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country” (Proverbs 25:26).”
Yours in Christ’s love,