I've seen a lot of young Christians fall into a trap in their spiritual lives. They start off with a passion, a vigor, a zeal to serve God with all their hearts. They're so hungry for God that they begin to consume God's Word every chance that they can.
Before long, they find a Christian book that carries a incredible message - and they read it from cover to cover. Then they find another one, and another one - all of them great books. But then something starts to happen. Their mind begins to crave these "easy to read" books more and the "tough reading" of the scripture less and less.
In no time, they've found themselves reading dozens of spiritual books without even picking up God's Word.
It's an easy trap to fall into - after all, many authors appeal to the soul. But what your spirit needs is a consistent and daily diet from the Bible. That, and that alone, keeps your spirit man strong!
Have you ever found yourself in this situation before? Did you notice a spiritual weakness in your life from it?
Can't say I experienced this problem. I found the Rick Warren's book you show above to be rather boring; full of manmade self help self effort strivings extolling us to be something other than who we are. Similarly I found Mike Bickle's 'A Passion for Jesus' to be crashingly dull. Come to think of it I can't think of a single one of these Christian 'life' books that I've ever finished.
I loved that book. It meant so much to me when I was going thru a really hard time. Gave me focus and purpose. Maybe I should read it again.
To the OP, I agree, the Bible is the most important book you can read. It will change your life if you dwell on it daily. Something I haven't done in a few years. I need to get back on track.
Rick Warren I've always found a bit soft. Then again I find Max Lucado to be rather light. But even with the heavier non-Bible readings, it's still a very real trap that can be fallen into. Sometimes when the going is particularly tough, you find yourself craving the milk of these books and not wanting to tackle the meat of Scripture itself.
I'll admit to never having read Rick Warren, but I spent about three years where the only reading I did outside of Scripture was Max Lucado. He wrote two books that I internalized deeply - one is Just Like Jesus and the other is And the Angels Were Silent. Another Christian book that I found immense edification in was Phillip Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace.
But, while in the convent, I learned the very important lesson that spiritual reading is never to replace Scriptural reflection.
This forum isn't about Rick Warren or The Purpose Driven life specifically. That's just the easiest book to illustrate my point. How many people - even so-called "Christians" - have read that book from cover to cover multiple times, but have never read the Bible though even once?
This isn't picking on Pastor Warren, or Max Lucado or Joel Osteen for that matter. I'm simply trying to warn hungry believers to stay in God's Word! Don't substitute someone's inspiration for the direct revelation of God's Word!
My wife had this problem, and I had to tell her to be mindful of ones belief,
I've noticed that many Christians are leery of outside reading. I've never bought any of these books, but if they are marketed as Christian reading I would think they are no different from a preacher in a pulpit. Attempting to share their take on the meaning of the lessons in the Bible. I would think it would be good to read as many as you felt compelled to. In order to see a little diversity in belief.
I guess, if you are a dead leaf in the wind, carried by every breeze that passes, it might be confusing. But, if you read and think about what you are reading and use the information to expand your understanding is any harm done?
Honestly, not to raise an eyebrow, but the OP sounds as if you watch someone walking in the footsteps of your interpretation and then suffer irritation when they don't agree with everything you do. That seems to be a stagnant and static belief.
I think that's a misunderstanding. Although I like and agree with most of what you said, the OP is referring to a kind of person who, for whatever reason, becomes absorbed in the 'easy' work of reading someone's take on the Bible and skips the 'hard' work of actually reading the Bible for themselves. That's not diversity, that's diversion. You can't have an honest opinion about something you don't know, and that's never more true than for the Bible.
I like to read conservatives like John MacArthur but I don't agree with everything he says and I read the Bible for myself. I have read a little from some who I disagree with as well. But again if you don't actually read, you know, THE BIBLE (sorry, I was going for emphasis, not yelling at you) then it doesn't really matter who you read, you're only getting someone else's take on it.
Haha...if you read what I'm saying - I don't disagree at all that there are great authors and good books out there. But I'm writing to believers - people who are interested in growing in their Christian walk. My warning to them is not to get distracted and diverted (thank you, Chris, for that very applicable term!) with other people's words.
Several times in my own blog, I warned people about reading what I say instead of what God has already said. Humans are fallible, God is not! So if you're substituting what someone says ABOUT the Bible for what the Bible actually says - you will never become a strong and growing disciple of Jesus Christ!
I have always been told that I can't interpret the word of God by my own understanding, so I don't understand why you think it is not sufficient to accept the interpretations of these prophets, who have been called upon by Jesus to interpret this for us.
It seems that when Christians read the bible, on their own, and are only guided by "the Holy Spirit," they can....and do....come up with differing interpretations of the SAME scripture. Then they seek the interpretation of the professionals anyway, because the professionals opinion trumps theirs. Then sometimes professionals are diametrically opposed to each other's interpretations. It seems to all boil down to who the believer wants to believe. Why is that?
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