caution: may be habit forming

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Category : bible, feeding my brain, taking action

         

One of my favorite games on Who’s Line Is It Anyway? was ‘Questions Only.’  A game made up of nothing more than asking questions. 

“How are you?”

“Are you talking to me?”

“Who else would I be talking to?”

“How should I know?”

 You get the idea…right?  *cough**cough*  It was probably the only game on that show I felt like I could hold my own.  I think, in some small way, this game captures how I think. 

What does that mean?  How does that work?  Where can I find that?  How does this relate?  Questions are constantly running through my mind.  It’s not that I like to ask questions.  Frankly I find it a little annoying.  But it just seems to be part of who I am.

Now there’s a problem with asking questions.  Sometimes you find an answer.

That’s where I was when I suddenly realized I was a Christian.  For a long time I had been asking questions about who God was.  What if the Bible is true?  What does this mean for my life?  How does my behavior need to change?  Does it need to change?  How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

You know, the important issues.

And I was content just to ask questions.  But as the evidence continued to mount in favor of God being real, I knew I faced a decision.  If God is real, then my life needed to change.  It just didn’t make any sense to believe in him and not change my habits and lifestyle.  If I wasn’t willing to change based on new information, why ask the questions in the first place?  Isn’t that what a good scientist would do?

So when I finally accepted that the Bible was an historically reliable document, and that God was real, I knew it meant radical change in my life.  Some habits developed quickly.  I was more compassionate towards people, I started going to church regularly, I developed a few friendships where I could freely discuss God, and what he had done in my life.  I also started reading as many books as I could, and listening to as many podcasts as I could. 

Others took more work.  Having empathy towards people, loving my enemies, sharing my faith with non-Christians.  These were (and are!) hard for me to do.  Learning to live life as a Christian is truly a life long process.  And some days it feels like a slow process!

Over the last few years I’ve found two things that seem to work really well together: reading the Bible and writing down my thoughts.

1.  Reading the Bible.  For me, reading the Bible was a chance to confront some of the questions I had.  I was surprised to learn that many of the stereotypes I had of Christianity were quickly dismissed.  I learned that the “angry God” of the Old Testament never existed.  And I learned that there’s no such thing as “hippy Jesus.”  Instead I saw that God showed more patience with people in the Old Testament than I ever would have.  And that Jesus was a radical, completely challenging society. 

Without reading the Bible for myself these things never would have sunk in. Because no one sat me down and explained it, when I reached these conclusions on my own, it had a powerful effect.  It’s hard to argue with your own conclusions! 

2.  Note Taking.  As interesting as these revelations were, they wouldn’t have been nearly as impactful if I hadn’t written down my thoughts.  Or as some people call it, “journaling.”  I don’t because that sounds kind of lame.  I prefer to call this “research” or “note taking.”  <insert Tim Allen grunting here>  

Writing down my thoughts helps me keep track all of the things I’ve learned.  When I write something I’m a lot more likely to follow through with it.  But interestingly, and perhaps more importantly, I can go back and see how God has acted in my life.  So many things I wrote about a year or two ago have happened.  So many of the things I struggled with or didn’t understand, have resolved themselves.

If I hadn’t written these things down I never would have remembered them. 

Do you have to do these things to be a Christian?

Of course not.

But you would also be missing out a great opportunity.  What kind of amazing things is God doing in your life that you haven’t noticed because you’re too busy to look around?  What kind of patterns of behavior are keeping you from him, that you might have seen if you had kept track of your thoughts?

So go ahead, ask questions.  You may be surprised by the answers.   

Comments (1)

[...] of all this.  But I’ve also learned that the only way I can really come to know Jesus is by reading about his life (the Bible) and talking to him [...]