I have to admit that I'm not very good at reading LONG quotes in blog posts. There's a small handful of bloggers whose quotes, long or short, I will read because I just know it will be worthwhile. But for the most part, I am like everyone else circling about in cyberspace, with my increasingly short concentration span. If it is too long I will just skim over it, or worse, skip it.
I say this because what follows is a long-ish quote. It is from the most linked-to sermon on this blog - John Piper's "Holding Fast to the Word of God in 2010" from 10th January (in 2010, funnily enough.) I don't know how many times I have listened to that sermon now. So worthwhile just for the first fifteen minutes where he reads the whole of Philippians magnificently.
But a little way into the actual sermon there is a wonderful section (that makes for a long-ish quote) that has stayed with me ever since I first heard it. If you are serious about reading your Bible, hang in there with the following long-ish quote. Read it through. Or go to the sermon itself and listen from the 22 minute mark. And be encouraged.
I would guess that almost everyone in the hearing of my voice is dissatisfied with the spiritual power and consistency and faithfulness and fruitfulness of your life. I certainly am with my life. I would assume everyone else is also dissatisfied with the level of your own spiritual power.
And I do not consider that anything I say is a simple remedy to that spiritual weakness. God is sovereign. He changes times and seasons. And that includes global political seasons and it includes church seasons and it includes family seasons and it includes personal spiritual seasons.
God changes seasons. Are you in a dry season? God changes seasons.
But one thing I know: There is a spiritual diet without which no Christian can be strong or healthy or fruitful. And that diet is the Word of God. That I know.
Now I want you to hear me very carefully, lest I be misunderstood. You may be surprised at what I say. I am making you zero promises that reading or memorising the Bible will make you strong or healthy or fruitful spiritually.
The Pharisees read and memorized their Bible more than you or I ever will. And almost all of them went to hell, Jesus said in Matthew 8:12, "cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth," filled with the Bible.
I am not giving you any guaranteed technique for power. The Spirit blows where and when he wills.
I have known terrible seasons of barrenness in reading the Bible. Did you hear what I said? Not in neglecting the Bible - in reading the Bible. I am not God. The Bible is not God. God is God. And He blows with His power where and when He pleases. I make you zero promises that reading the Bible will make you strong. God will make you strong if He chooses to make you strong.
But this I know. He will not do it without the Bible. That I know.