Have you ever seen the Pixar movie, Wall-E? The movie is set some time in the future. Humanity has left the Earth so robots can clean all the trash. For this to happen, mankind is going to embark on a centuries long pleasure cruise in the space equivalent of a modern-day cruise line vessel.
When we finally see humanity in this pleasure ship, centuries later, no one can walk. An x-ray of one person shows that they have lost muscle mass and bone density. Walking is not something anyone does. Ever. Everyone just floats everywhere in a hover lounge having their every whim taken care of by attending machines.
Ok, so what does this have to do with a church blog post?
Before I answer, let me backup. These hover lounges the people are all riding in were a great idea. They were conceived to allow family members who were less mobile to join in all the fun and games. They would be able to join their family because technology allowed them to go where they were unable to go on their own power.
So, what happened? People began to rely on the helpful technology because it was easier. It was more convenient. It met them where they were. And the result is the people lost basic abilities that most of us take for granted every day.
In some ways the use of devotionals has had a similar effect on Biblical literacy.
The Bible is God’s word in a physical form and we have the privilege and pleasure to read and study it. Study of His word is the basis for our maturity in Christ. We simply cannot grow the way God wants us to grow if we do not spend time in His word.
I am not saying devotionals are bad. They can be a great source of teaching. But there is a danger if reading devotionals takes the place of regular, focused, study of God’s Word.
There is no substitute for reading and studying the Bible.
But some say, “I just can’t understand the Bible”. And, it is true, there are some hard passages in the Bible that make most of us scratch our heads. But just because something is hard has never been a good reason not to do it.
God wants us to understand Him through His word. He gave it to us for that purpose. Start with that. Ask God to give you wisdom. Ask Him to give you the discipline to read His word consistently. Trust that He will answer. And understand that sometimes we only know He has answered when we look back at our lives and realize we are doing the thing we thought we could not do. We begin to understand that God answered our prayers so subtly that we almost missed it.
Isaiah 40:31 says, “but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.” I heard a teacher explain once that this is like those moments when God does something in our lives and we are so excited, so aware of His presence, that it is like we can fly. As time passes, we settle into a run and then a walk. Most of our Christian life is lived in the walk.
But, there is beauty in the walk.