My son, Mark, was poking around my office from where he sat next to me at my desk. I was reading his schoolwork and he was doing his best to distract from the latest chapter of his reading when he held up my leather Bible case and asked, “Mom, why don’t you use this anymore?” Without even thinking about it, I answered, “Nope. Now I read my Bible too much to zip it up.”
I think this interaction surprised my boy, but it surprised me more.
I grew up valuing my Bible over all things. I zipped it up tight in a Bible case. I kept it on a shelf. I took it down to read on the couch when the house was clean, and I still had my Sabbath dress and stockings on. I took it out to read on my bed when chores were done, my pajamas were on, and my face was washed.
An Upside-Down Approach to Christian Living
The way I treated my Bible as a girl is how I grew up treating Jesus as a young woman, a young wife, a youth leader, and a young mother.
The time to talk about Jesus and sing about Jesus was relegated to special times. There could be no laughing, no fun, no asking questions, and no challenging authority–not while we spoke about Jesus or read the Bible.
The kids could not play during family worship. They could not ask questions I couldn’t answer and could only be as silly as the songs warranted, no more, no less.
My husband and I could not do a Bible study together unless we set aside special time. We couldn’t pray together unless we were undistracted and also not arguing.
I only worshipped in holy places. I only prayed with my eyes closed and hands folded. I only unzipped my Bible at church.
Learning to Live Like Jesus
When the COVID-19 pandemic occurred in 2020, we were all affected in catastrophic and traumatic ways. One of the ways I was affected was that I stopped reading. Something that I’d done constantly for as long as I can remember–something that was a coping mechanism, a favorite form of entertainment, and an intellectual exercise ended for me abruptly in March 2020.
It has taken years for me to learn to read again, to enjoy it, and to practice it consistently. The book that helped me to read again–the Bible.
Slowly I started reading other books again. I celebrated the day I finally finished a book! I started picking up more books, and the ones I consumed like wildfire ended up being nonfiction, Christian, and theological books; in this way, a traumatic experience turned into gold.
As I started to read the Bible, I realized I could read the Bible!
As I read the Bible more, I realized I could carry it to my dinner table, couch, bed, car, etc.
As I started reading it more, I realized I could read it while my kids were watching TV.
As I started reading it more, I realized it was a treasured gift I never opened for fear I might mess it up.
Learning to carry the Bible around as a treasure is learning to live like Jesus.
The Bread of Life
There was a saying when I was young that donned tee shirts, hats, rubber bracelets, and more: WWJD? What would Jesus do?
Jesus carried the scriptures, prophecies, histories, and promises in His heart and lived through a personal relationship with the Father.
This philosophy can be seen in John 6, and I hope you will read it this week as a reminder of how Jesus lived and how we, too, should live.