Do you ever meet people and think to yourself that they are impossibly pleasant to be around? Every now and again I run into someone who is so committed to others that they are happier serving than when they are not. It seems as though this should be normal. The New Testament is filled with examples of Jesus living a lifestyle of serving others and saying that we should too. We’re literally made for it. But how do we get from the world’s message of “Take care of number one,” to God’s message of love others more than yourself? I would propose that the biggest element you need for this is a habit of reading your Bible. Psalms 1 lays this out brilliantly. This will teach you what to avoid, what to pursue and how to do it. The truth is that reading the Bible is not optional in the life of the believer.
What You’ll Avoid
Psalm 1:1 “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”
Let me preface this by saying the Bible is very clear on how we’re supposed to love others. This verse is not saying you should avoid anyone you think is not “holy enough” to be around you. The Hebrew verb usage of this verse actually seems to refer to a man on a journey rather than just someone hanging out. Walking in the counsel of the wicked refers to going about the same business that makes someone wicked. Standing in the path of sinners is the next step in this progression where now this man is no longer journeying alongside wickedness, but stopping when it stops. Making a conscious effort to stay with sin. The final step in the progression is sitting in the seat of the scoffer. This word is the same one used for living with. Abiding this man has progressed from doing evil when it’s presented to seeking it out, to the final step of being an indistinguishable part of that camp. Evil seeps into our lives when we’re not reading our Bibles.
Who You’ll Become
Psalm 1:2-3 “ But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”
This verse is not saying that whoever keeps the law, will get what they want. But what this verse is saying is exactly the point I want to make to you. The person that is well-rooted in the Word, is not easily led astray. The Psalmist points towards this idea of delighting in the law of the Lord. Historically, most of the Bible that the Psalmist would have had access to at this point would be the Law. So what he is saying, is that the opposite of the man inseparable from evil is the man who loves the Bible, and processes it day and night. In fact, the day and night are not just singular times at two different points in a day, the words actually mean all the time that the sun is up, and all the time that the sun is down. God says that if a person wants to be firmly rooted away from temptation and capable of carrying out what the Bible says, that person must be reading their Bible.
How to do it
There are plenty of tools set up to help us carry out this instruction from God, but which one, if one at all, is right? That depends on what we need. We need to be doing something that challenges us to think about what we read. The verse says that we need to be meditating all the time on the Word, so pick something that will help you think about what you read. Take the time to carry out other personal disciplines alongside it. If you have time every day that you have set aside to read your Bible, what better time is there to pray intentionally? You can choose books of the Bible to focus on or topics to study. Ideally, you should choose something that will challenge you to grow, and something that excites you.
This is just one passage that talks about the importance of reading the Bible regularly. There are many more throughout the Old and New Testaments that discuss so many other important reasons for a habit like this. The truth is that God wants to have a relationship with us and this is His primary means of communicating with us during our lifetime here on Earth. To deny the importance of reading your Bible leads only to believing the lies that speak against it. Reading the Bible is not optional in the life of the Believer.