This morning, I was renewing a medical journal subscription. After I confirmed the renewal, I entered the transaction information into a spreadsheet. As I was about to close the spreadsheet, I noticed the last several rows were devoted to discontinued journal subscriptions. My, my! What a wide variety of interests I have circled through over the last decade! About a third of the journals and magazines were medical. The rest were distributed over topics such as business, music, audio and home theater, and food.
During one period in my life, I spent far more time reading secular literature than I did reading the Bible. I justified my actions to myself and God by affirming that I was doing was important for my occupation, and roles as a husband and father. I needed to know the latest medical literature for my patients. I needed to know the latest financial and economic trends to make wise investments for our family. I needed to take care of myself and relax and entertain my mind with food and music.
After several years, I was chastened by the Holy Spirit as He convicted me of my warped sense of priorities. I had read the Bible many times over during this period of time, but it was just that, reading. I knew the stories, I knew the characters, but I could not quote verses. When crises arose, the Word of God was not upon the tip of my tongue. When I was faced with a difficult decision, I could not bring to mind a Bible verse that would help me in my decision process. Frustrated and embarrassed, I was determined to change this pattern. I set the daily goal of spending at least as much time reading the Bible as I did my medical and secular articles, journal, and magazines. I didn’t always accomplish this but I was persistent. And the more I persisted, the easier the goal was reached. Today, I crave and jealously guard my time with the Bible.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.
Revelation 2:4 (ESV)
Being well-rounded and well-read is definitely important, but not at the expense of time with God. I needed to return to my first love. I needed to be rooted and grounded in the Word of God. I needed to reaffirm my love to Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
Thanks be to God for His grace and mercy to me, for changing my heart and bringing me to confession and repentance of my sinful neglect of His Word.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.