Life is full of seasons. In fact, spiritually speaking, I would venture to say that all of life is simply a series of seasons. Right now, you may be in a season of blessing. You may be in a season of heartache and suffering. You may feel closer to God than you ever have; or you may feel like you’ve never been farther away. Maybe you’re somewhere in-between.
I find myself fighting the “in-between” seasons quite often. Not on a mountaintop, but not in a valley. I find myself in a season of spiritual apathy. There are days that come and go, and I neglect to open my Bible once. I’m mentally overloaded, trying to tackle the long list of things that need to be done. My prayers are consistent, but half-hearted. I don’t feel that I have energy to give anymore of myself to anyone.
Have you ever been here? If I’m honest, my apathy makes me feel pretty shameful. I feel guilty that there are times I don’t feel like opening my Bible, when I know it’s what I need more than anything. So, I sit, afraid to approach God with my insulting attitude. He gave His life for me, and I can’t even open my Bible and give Him 20 minutes? I don’t even deserve to be in His presence if that’s the case. This is a dangerous place to be.
Let me clear one thing up: I am not deserving. No one is. (Romans 3:23) But that’s because we never were, not because all the sudden we neglected to open our Bibles. We’ve been undeserving from the beginning of time. God’s presence is a gift. The ability to spend time with Him is a gift. It’s not something we earn. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
So, what if we choose not to hide from God in guilt and shame, which is also what the enemy wants (2 Timothy 1:7)? What if we choose to bring our spiritual apathy to God? By golly, let’s bring the guilt and shame too, shall we? He can handle our emotions. There is nothing too great for Him! What if we choose to act, not based on how we feel, but on the truth of who God is?
Jen Wilkin shares two important truths in her book “Women of the Word” that are noteworthy. She writes,
“I failed to understand that the Bible is a book about God…I believed that the Bible was a book about me…The Bible does tell us who we are and what we should do, but it does so through the lens of who God is.” Secondly, she writes, “The second thing I got backwards in my approach to the Bible was the belief that my heart should guide my study…Letting my heart guide my study meant that I looked for the Bible to make me feel a certain way when I read it.” (Jeremiah 17:9)
We have to begin by acknowledging that the Bible is not about us (Colossians 1:16). It is a book about God. Secondly, it’s not about how we feel about what we read or how we feel after reading it. It’s about gaining knowledge of our Creator. If the Bible was not written based upon our feelings, whether we open it or not should not be dependent on our feelings.
The reality is that we have to command our emotions to submit. So, even though I don’t feel like opening my Bible today, I’m going to open my Bible today. I choose to boss my apathetic heart into submission, because it’s not about how I feel, it’s about who God is.