Friday, April 10, 2009

Clutter.

It’s amazing how complicated our lives have become, all in the name of simplicity.

So, you want to have a quiet time. Walk into any Christian bookstore or gift shop and you will find yourself instantly inundated with a million devices to help you jump-start or enhance your personal time with the Lord.

Electronic hand-held Bibles, anyone? Perfect for Bible-reading on-the-go. (Work-bound fathers, stuck in post-Starbucks-run, mid-rush-hour-traffic come to mind here.) Or better yet, ditch the handheld Bible—how about a Biblezine? Perfect for teens, a Biblezine is complete with topical articles, all “relevant” to today’s culture (as well as full-color illustrations, quizzes, tips, and lifestyle features appealing directly to the age group specified on the top right-hand of the cover).

But, if the “Bible magazine” look is a little beyond the realm of your appreciation, why not try a “Clearly-U” Bible? Because, guess what? You get to choose the cover from a variety of innovative, chic designs! Kids, especially, will love it.

Moving on. Devotional books, everyone? And I do mean everyone. Here we have devotionals and study books for the unmarried, the newly married, the “I’m-tired-of-being-married”, and the “I-don’t-intend-to-marry”. How about for expectant mothers? Frustrated mothers? Single mothers? Dieting mothers? Teenage mothers? Mothers of teenagers? Don’t forget the devotional books for pet-lovers, sports-lovers, gardeners and graduates!

And in case you’re feeling a little lost after 40 purposeful days, you may want to reinforce your spiritual stability with a book on how to reclaim your best life at the time when you want it most (no personal axe to grind here, of course). Or, better yet: how to make Jabez’s age-old prayer ‘fresh’ in your life again.

I digress.

The point is, we have too many choices. What was once offered in the name of simplicity, is now threatening to steal that very gift from us.

The other day, I sat down to read my Bible and in passing, thought how nice it would be to have a One-Year Bible that laid out my reading plan for me. Then, I wondered whether there was one published in my favorite translation. I vaguely speculated on the design of the book—whether it was aesthetically pleasing and whether or not the typesetting would be easy on the eyes. Would there be a study guide? Maybe one for single girls like me? Single girls who—

I stopped short.

My quiet time, in its truest, barest, most honest form, is this:

God. His Word. Myself.

Nothing more.

The extras are helpful (because of course there are some incredible resources available today which should not be discounted by any means) but they are not an end in themselves.

Quiet time begins and ends with the relationship: and until we have that established, no amount of consumer appeal, dressing up the Gospel, fancy gadgets, or relevancy is going to make it any better, easier, or pretty.

So. Is God’s Word for every Christian? Can we understand it in all of its glorious depth and richness? Do we truly need relevancy and fresh perspectives in order to seek and understand His will in our lives?

Those who ask will have it given to them. Those who seek will also find. And to those who knock, the door will be opened to them. Then we can truly echo the Psalmist when he says,

“O, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day!”

God. His Word. Myself.

Here. Eternity.

Simple, really.

4 comments:

Katherine said...

This was a very thought provoking article. I personally believe its good for young girls to have the Revolve bible for a number of reasons. Particularly, my daughter loves celebrities and that is how God speaks to her, through their testimonies. I for one have seen artists like Jordin Sparks and Brian Litrell and others who are bold about there faith just connect with her in ways her youth pastor or spiritual leaders cannot. In that way, the Revolve bible is excellent. Its really just a harmless bit of marketing, made to look pretty and 'girly' for fun. I see nothing wrong with that. Simplicity in our quiet time is important, however. beyond the Revolve comments, you made some excellent points! God bless! ~Katherine.

The said...

Do you classify Peterson's, "The Message" as a bible translation?

Rick said...

who says making quiet time convenient is wrong?

Sterling said...

Thank you, Jenn. I needed to be reminded of that.