24 February 2011

Choosing Diligence

Sometimes I read my Bible very first thing in the morning. Usually, though, I read it after the kids and I have had breakfast and they have settled down to watch cartoons or play. Sometimes I use a Bible study. But many times, I choose a book in the Bible and read anywhere from half a chapter to a chapter a day. Sometimes I read my Bible at the table, where Daniel can see me. But most of the time, I go in my room, shut the door, and sit on my bed.

But, you know, I don't think when, how, or where matters nearly as much as whether or not I'm studying His Word consistently and with the right heart.

I'm a person who thrives on getting "things" accomplished. Read about Mary and Martha lately? Yep, I get convicted every time. That means that when it's "time" to read my Bible, if I'm not careful, it can become one more "thing" I cross off my mental list. And what does that really accomplish?

Going back to the right heart. We get a good picture of what it is in John 1:45-51. When Philip introduced Nathaniel to Jesus, Jesus praised Nathaniel in the presence of the other disciples by telling them that Nathaniel was an Israelite in whom there was no guile (or deceitfulness). According to John Phillips, Jesus was alluding to the fact that Nathaniel was unlike Jacob, the Supplanter (or deceiver); but, instead, possessed the heart of Israel, the man Jacob later became after wrestling with God. I think this commendation implies a single-heartedness on Nathaniel's part -- a desire for the Truth.

I love the fact that Jesus goes on to say that he saw Nathaniel under the fig tree. As many others also believe, John Phillips points out that this is most likely a reference to Nathaniel's taking time earlier, possibly that day, to study the Scriptures or pray. The point is, he was SEEKING. His diligence in searching resulted from a singleness of heart! A heart in which all other things paled in comparison to knowing God. He desired to know more of God and God's plan! And you know what? God noticed him. God not only noticed him, He sought him out. It was no coincidence that Jesus found Philip, and Philip in turn went to Nathaniel that day.

So just what did Nathaniel "find" THAT day? The Word Incarnate revealed! And because he had been searching the Scriptures, he recognized the Truth when he saw Him. I love how Christ honors the seeking heart. Not a heart who was seeking any old "truth", but a heart that was diligently seeking the one and only Truth.

"...for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6

I can think of specific times when I have really sought to understand something in God's Word on a deeper level. I can recall one time, not long ago, when I really longed to understand how to practically apply a certain truth. I prayed, I read, and after several weeks, God clearly answered my question through His Word. And, can I tell you, when He did, there was absolutely no doubt that He had led me to a certain a passage and was answering my question. I was so thankful to Him for showing me Grace and showing me Truth!

I want to be more like Nathaniel. For Christ does see me -- whether it's under the fig tree or sitting on my bed. But more than that, he sees my heart. He knows whether or not I am truly seeking Him. I wish I could say there were more times when I was "diligently" seeking him with true singleness of heart. Because when I choose to seek Him in that way, the reward IS great!