Happy 4th, everyone! It’s nice and hot here in Maryland and the grills are firing up all over the place in celebration of our country’s independence. Check out Nicole’s post from last July 4th for a girly perspective on this American holiday. That was a good one, Nicole.
For some of you this holiday may afford a little extra time for reading. I know for me, I often skip a very important step when I sit down with a good book. I don’t ask for help to read. Don’t worry, I graduated from first grade and I can read on my own. I’m talking about a different kind of help. The help that only the Holy Spirit can provide.
In 2 Timothy 2:7 we are exhorted to “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” Our thinking alone isn’t sufficient. You see, we think but the Lord gives. We must depend upon the Lord in all things; reading is no exception. In order to grow in knowledge and affection for my Savior, I need His divine help as I read—help that He is ready and eager to give to those who ask. So before you open a book, pray that “the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
Did you know that reading is a way to express our love to God? In Matthew 22:37 we are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our minds. As we read books that cause us to think big thoughts about God, to know Him more, and to better understand His purposes, we are doing just that—we are loving God with all our minds.
And what’s more, reading can provoke change and cultivate our affections for God. When I consider two books I am currently perusing, I have been convicted of sinful judging by the one, and have been more deeply affected by my Savior’s death on the cross with the other. Needless to say, that makes reading a worthwhile endeavor.
But if you are not yet convinced of its importance, listen to Mr. Spurgeon go off about books in response to this verse: “When you [Timothy] come bring the cloak which I [Paul] left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13).
“He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He has had wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up in the third heaven, and had heard things unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He has written a major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books! The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every Christian, ‘Give thyself to reading.’ The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves he has no brains of his own.”
Well, I don’t want to be accused of having no brains of my own, so I’m going to keep reading. Seriously, Mr. Spurgeon was right: If Paul wanted books, we should all want them! So, let’s pull that book our pastors have encouraged us to read off the bookshelf, and let’s start reading—even if it’s only for twenty minutes daily or one page per day.