Blessed New Year. With Hermon’s focus in 2024 of "re-connecting as disciples of Christ”, as we commit this Dedication Sunday to serve in the body of Christ here in Hermon, may we also seek to grow as disciples. These two commitments are not mutually exclusive. Instead, they are very interconnected. Unless we are drawing nutrients from Christ the Vine, we will not be able to flourish and effectively bear fruit for Him.
May I thus encourage us to journey with a fellow Hermonite through daily bible reading. Melissa Kruger has listed eight benefits of this.
Makes you wise for salvation - Perhaps you don’t know what you believe about Christianity. Or, perhaps you consider yourself a Christian, but wonder at times, “Am I really a believer? Do I have saving faith?” When Paul wrote to Timothy about his faith, he mentioned that Timothy had known the Scriptures from childhood and that they were “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). If you don’t know exactly what you believe, the best place to begin is to spend a year reading the Bible for yourself. Cultural Christianity and modern media tend to quote the same 10 verses time and again. Why not dig a little deeper and take the time to reflect upon the entire message? There is nothing lost by spending a year reading the Bible, and there is much to gain.
Grows your relationship with God - All relationships take time to build. Friends plan time to get together and catch up. Spouses reconnect on date nights. Church members chat over pot-luck dinners. Building fellowship with others takes time. If we want to grow a friendship with God, we need time in His presence for that relationship to flourish. Reading the Bible on a daily basis allows us the opportunity to get to know God: What does He care about? How does He respond? Who does He love?
Helps you fight temptation - We all struggle with sin. The Bible offers stories of imperfect people: liars, adulterers, murderers, and idolaters. We are told that these stories were written for our benefit: “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did” (1 Cor. 10:1-13).
The Bible illuminates our propensity towards sin, as well as prepares us to fight it. The word of God acts as a sword against the attacks of the devil (Eph. 6:17). The psalmist tells us, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). Being in the word on a daily basis strengthens our minds, fortifying and preparing our hearts for the battle that will surely come our way.
Provides revival, wisdom and joy - Are you weary? Unsure of what to do? In need of wisdom in some area? Just take a moment to read the promises found in Psalm 19:7-11. Revival, joy and wisdom: these are the jewels we uncover as we mine the riches of God’s word.
Nourishes your soul - Psalm 1 tells us the man who delights in the law of the Lord is like a “tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Isaiah 55 compares time with the Lord to a feast in which we can delight our souls in the richest of fare. Jesus told us that abiding in Him was more necessary than food or water. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15). However, in Christ we can do all things (Phil 4:13). The most important gift you can give to yourself in the coming year is time with Jesus.
Provides comfort - In the upcoming year, each of us will suffer. The best way to prepare our hearts for trials is to fill our minds with the word of God. Many false assurances of happiness and ease are the result of misapplied promises born out of an insufficient understanding of God’s word. Knowing God’s promises, in the full context of His word, helps us to put our hope in God and find comfort for our souls in times of hardship and distress. The psalmist tells us, “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (Psalm 119:50). When the storm winds blow the strongest, we will be thankful for the anchor that is buried deep within the promises of God.
Transforms you to look like Christ - Time together makes us become like one another. In a similar way, time with Jesus makes you look like Jesus. The Bible is not simply a textbook to teach us facts about Jesus. It is living and active. We actually meet with Jesus as we spend time in His word.
In a world with many thoughts and ideas, it is important to remember that the most brilliant insights of men or women are from the minds of created beings. In the Bible, we have access to the wisdom of an infinite God and Creator, the One who knows all things, and understands the beginning and the end. What a privilege to come and learn from Him! As our minds are renewed, our lives are transformed.
Blesses you to be a blessing - As the word transforms us, we become living examples of Jesus to the world around us. We share our faith, care for the poor, work with diligence, fight injustice, love unconditionally, forgive those who sin against us, confess our sins, and shine as lights in a dark and weary world. If we want to impact the world, we must first be impacted by the word.
I’m sure that one or more of these reasons will resonate with you. So, as we commit to serving God this Dedication Sunday, let’s commit to also being empowered to serve. If you don’t already have a bible reading plan, do check some out at https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/walk-park-bible-plans/.
Ps Daniel Tan
Adapted from “Daily Bread: 8 Reasons Why You Need it More than you think”, Melissa Kruger, 7, December, 2015