Let’s say it’s your birthday and a friend gives you a card. You open it to find a Visa Gift card inside. He doesn’t write how much is on it, so you know you’ll have to go on-line to see the balance. You know it has value, so you’ll keep it, but you aren’t quite sure how much until you apply it. Visa gift cards can be purchased almost anywhere, aren’t specifically for anyone, and they can be stolen, lost, or even given away for anyone to use. They have value, but are generic by nature.
When any of us open our Bibles, we can randomly read through passages out of duty or guilt, because we are “supposed to read God’s Word.” This approach to reading Scripture is a lot like receiving a Visa gift card. We know it has value, but we don’t really feel its personal.
But what if a family member hands you a card and inside is a personal check made out to you for $100? You immediately know by looking at it who gave it, that it’s for you, and exactly the value it has. It is not generic for anyone; it is specific to you.
That’s what happens when we engage with our Bibles through the power and translation of the Holy Spirit; not just randomly reading; but expecting to hear from God; knowing He has a specific message for today. When we then find it, we know God gave it, we know it’s for us, and we know exactly the value it has for our life.
What is the real difference in these two approaches? Expectation and attitude. One is out of religion, the other is from a relationship.
Another analogy, that is not original to me, is getting a form letter in the mail versus receiving a love letter. One is scanned and tossed, because it means little. The other is targeted for the heart and is precious. One is barely read, the other scoped over and over. One is thrown away and one is kept.
Every day, God writes a personal check to each of us in the form of a message from His Word. His long-standing truth collides with our needs and desires for the day and He speaks inside that very personal message.
So, do you want to read a form letter or a love letter? You want a Visa gift card or a personal check? God already has promised which one He will deliver. The choice of what you receive is up to you.
“Rain and snow fall from the sky. But they don’t return without watering the earth that produces seeds to plant and grain to eat.That’s how it is with my words. They don’t return to me without doing everything I send them to do.” —Isaiah 55:10-11 CEV