Monday, October 8, 2012

31 Days - Being read by the Book

October has 31 days to fill with ideas. I'm starting late but not letting it get me down. I'm not an every day blogger so I'll dip in and out of the pool. I'll be living 31 days this October, and writing when I can.

The Bible Society have a great campaign this month, too. A call to read God's word every day, for 31 days. Go and check it out if you're wondering about ways to get into reading the bible.

Since July, my train trip to work has lengthened from 15 minutes to 50 minutes. The struggle to get to work punctually is easily matched by more time to read. Mornings are for bible reading and afternoons for other reading. This is structure!

More train time means more books shuffled off the list of yet-to-reads, and more space on the overstuffed shelf. Sometimes, furtively, more little packages from betterworldbooks arrive.

As I read God's word, it's tempting to tick more verses off (...done) but I'm starting to double and triple back. I can read the same words three mornings in a row and each time amble a little further on. It's not as defineable as two steps forwards and one step back back, but we're in that region somewhere.

Paul wrote 'For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.' (Philippians 2:13)

"How is God working in you?"

I rolled back and forth over this question for days. Not sure if I actually spoke the fear that God is not really working in me. It's the word of truth, but am I in it? Is it in me?

A week to realise the latter part explains the former. Quite a labour, to give me inclination and ability to please God. It's been a prayer, each day, as I read it.

Sometimes I wish bible-reading was just ticking more off and getting more done. Reading the verses, then getting on with the real living. But this is not another book to shift from want-to-read, to read-it. This book is a double sharp sword, the path of a consuming fire, an instrument of grace and truth, hewing me to shape.

I'll read this book for all the possible days of my being and barely start. It will burn back and forth in my thoughts, in my heart, in my dreams and my living. It will cut my self-satisfaction and self-delusion and self-obsession. Do I really want that? It will stoke the fire of my desire to see life in truth. The truth will totally deflate me, while it reminds me I am limp and wan without it's breath within me. It will gently build me and nudge me forward. Send me in unexpected and surprisingly sweet directions.

I am fooling myself to think I can read the bible. It's the bible that reads me.

And I am so defended from it power, so blinded to its clarity, that I have to press back and forth over its words to get their imprint onto my skin.

So I'm back to my question - How is God working in me?

He is slowly decanting his wisdom into me. He is turning my flitting heart to his steady rhythms. He is supporting my hands as they falteringly do the love-work they are formed for. He is stilling my nervous, inner chatter to hear his faithfulness and listen to his children.

Slow and patient is his work. In me, it needs to be.

How is God working in you?

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