Jumanji was a children’s book written in the 1980’s about some kids who find a jungle-themed board game which comes to life once the dice is rolled. Each turn brings calamities and disasters and jungle animals en masse. The characters in the book have to finish playing the game, as terrifying as it may be, in order for everything to go back to normal. The book was also made into a movie in 1995 starring Robin Williams. My Grandma Mona took me and my sister to see it in the theater. She sat in her seat with her head down and her eyes covered for the ENTIRE movie.
The Bible is God’s chosen vehicle to speak to us, even today in the 21st Century. We have been given an awesome, powerful gift. It is available to us at the click of a mouse. In any translation. In any language. I, Joe Shmoe Bible Reader, can look up original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts and do word studies from them. What an astounding thought. With that, however, comes the responsibility to know and learn the canon (entirety) of scripture. Why is it then, that one can make it for two decades as a believer without ever having actually read through her entire Bible? That’s the good ol’ American way. From piecemeal Sunday morning sermons and lack of delving deeper personally, embarrassingly, my quiet times used to be just open the Bible to a random spot, read what’s there, see if it applies, do it again tomorrow. How dreadful. Thankfully, God can still use the dreadful. “But it’s so long!” Really? How many pages in that Twilight saga that you just couldn’t put down? “I don’t have time!” Make time. “I don’t know where to start!” Really, it’s all good. Pick a book. How about Ephesians. There ya go. Now go and read. We don’t get a “free pass” because we’re “too busy.” We have been given SO much, right at our fingertips. The God of the UNIVERSE has revealed Himself to YOU in Scripture.
What’s amazing about the Word is that it is a living entity. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb 4:12) We study the word and it leaps off of the page, cutting us to the quick, examining our hearts. Maybe that’s why some of us drop our heads in our laps and hide from it….maybe we know that it’s true and that it’s going to shine a big fat bright light on our darkest areas. You know them…they are the spots that quicken your heart when you allow your mind to wander to them. Terrifying. Our sinful nature that is in conflict with the Spirit is desperately pulling us away from the one thing that can give us life. Nothing we do, feel, or think is hidden from Him. Who are we kidding? And we know that healing is on the other side of dealing with the dang thing but we’d much rather sit in the toxic sinful pit of sludge than to admit that maybe we’ve got something to confess or deal with. Ridiculous. You see, you’ve gotta keep playing the game if you want to ever be rid of the thing. If you hide, God’s liable to just have you thrown overboard and let a big fish swallow you and spit you back out and make you deal with it (this has been my past repeated pattern of learning my lesson from God. Gee, if I would’ve just listened to Him the first time…..).
Jeremiah, overwhelmed with grief at the rebellion of Israel, proclaimed, “Let us test and examine our ways and return to the LORD!” (Lam 3:40) Pick up your Bible. Ask the Lord to examine your heart and show you where you need help. Be convicted. God disciplines those he LOVES (Proverbs 3:12). Bathe in the Spirit and listen to Him. He loves you. He wants you to be free. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM (2 Cr 3:17).
I know you all just sang in your head “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LiberTaaAAaaaaAAAaaay….”
I’m praying for you tonight.