Bible Study, Mailbag

The Mailbag: I love the Bible, but I have to force myself to read it

 

I am struggling with reading the Word. I find myself having to drag myself to it to dedicate time to read it, struggling against doing other things instead. I love the Lord with all my heart. I love His Word, LOVE everything about the Bible. I know that love for God’s word and hunger for it is one of the marks of salvation. I want to hunger for reading it like a baby hungers for milk. I want that passion for His word.

Please don’t tell me to check my salvation as I daily obsess about this to the point where my sister in Christ said I have an OCD about this. I hear about false converts and it scares me. An elder told me that you can do the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit and I thought that once I was saved I could not do that, that was the sin of unbelief. Now, I am sometimes scared to even think about the Holy Spirit, because what if I do that! Please take me Lord, before I would do that! Please help me. 

This question from a friend of my Facebook page just reached through the screen and clutched at my heart. I’ve been right where this sister is now, and I know many of you have been there as well. If you would, take a moment to pray for her and any other Christian you know who’s struggling with this kind of anxiety in her walk.

The Unpardonable Sin
You cannot commit the unpardonable sin. No one living today can commit that sin. I don’t mean to sound harsh, as we all make mistakes, but I am appalled at your elder’s ignorance on this issue and what he said to you. It’s a very common question, and he should at least know a simple answer to it. I’ve covered it here: What is the unpardonable sin?

Check your salvation?
There is no reason for me to tell you to check your salvation, and it never entered my mind to do so. Lost people don’t ask God to take their lives lest they commit the unpardonable sin or worry about whether or not they hunger enough for God’s Word. Only saved people think like that, because saved people are new creations in Christ, with the mind of Christ, who desire to please Christ. Lost people can’t even understand the things of God because these things are revealed by the Holy Spirit, which they don’t have.

I would really encourage you to work through the book of 1 John (I’ve written a study on it if you’d find that helpful). John wrote this epistle to reassure believers. As he says in 5:13: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Getting over the “hump” of reticence.
What you describe about dragging yourself to do your Bible study but then loving the Word once you get over that hump of reticence is absolutely, without a doubt, one hundred per cent normal. Pastors feel that way. Elders feel that way. Bible teachers feel that way. Every Christian, including me, feels that way at least sometimes. Usually several times a week for me.

That feeling does not mean you’re not hungering for the Word or that you don’t have a passion for it. Indeed, if you weren’t hungering for the Word with such a passion, you wouldn’t be so up in arms about feeling tempted to do something besides reading your Bible.

That feeling is not something lacking in your desire for the Word. That feeling is Satan tempting you to do anything rather than study your Bible. And the way you combat that temptation? You pray through it, pick up your Bible, and start reading – regardless of how you feel about it. Obedience is hard sometimes. But when you grit your teeth against that temptation and obey God anyway, that is a precious offering to the Lord. He doesn’t require that you feel all hearts and flower-y while you’re doing it. That’s you putting that pressure on yourself. This is battle. Fight. You obey and let God worry about your feelings.

“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Matthew 21:28-31a

Peace be unto you.
God did not save you in order for you to spend your life in a state of fear and anxiety. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Forever starts the moment you’re saved. God wants you to enjoy spending time with Him in this life just as much as He wants you to in the next.

Christ is the Prince of Peace and His desire is for you to be at peace with Him. He knows you inside and out and He still delights in you. It is safe to let go, relax, and rest in His love and delight. He is not going to let go of you. Here are a few Scriptures that may bring you some comfort and reassurance. Believe them. Trust Him. He loves you. Let that sink in and simply love Him back.

For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with salvation.
Let the godly exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their beds.
Psalm 149:4-5


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

11 thoughts on “The Mailbag: I love the Bible, but I have to force myself to read it”

  1. A wonderful response, and one I think is needed in reformed circles. Matt Chandler, David Platt and others in their group have put too much emphasis on proving your salvation by works. In Platt’s book, “Radical”, he says that taking care of the poor is a “necessary” evidence of salvation. The whole book, in my opinion, is written in such a way to make the reader question their salvation if they are not “living radically” (i.e. giving away your clothes, taking care of poor, etc.). Galatians addresses this type of faulty thinking: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
    Galatians 3:3 ESV

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  2. I want to personally thank the woman who wrote that question because she exhibited a boldness and openness about her concern. I have had the same thoughts about how could I love God and love His word, but not want to read His word. I think I should have the right attitude before I read my Bible or reading it does not “count.” Sometimes I will read and during the reading, my attitude changes and sometimes my attitude does not change. Thank you Michelle for reminding me this battle is a spiritual one. Despite the warnings in Scripture I think we too often forget we are engaged in a spiritual battle with an enemy we cannot see, but who wields tremendous power. We also forget we are on the side of victory and we have God’s armor to protect us.

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  3. Thank you so much for doing this blog Michelle. I continually learn from what you post. Loved this post! God bless you my sister in Christ!

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  4. Thank you for your comforting answer to this sister. My heart broke for her. This is indeed a struggle for me as well. Often I am tempted to do anything other than open Gods word and yet once I do I find such Joy there in.

    Another thing that struck me a few days back was a bit of a shock. I had had a wonderful time in God’s word, learning and finding deeper, how great he is, how great His love for us is. I am studying Ephesians and was in chapter 1:3-6. I felt my heart soring. Later that day I felt I went through a harder struggle with forgiving my husband about a small matter than normal. I was shocked at how such great learning seemed to leave me in a worse place then I had been before.
    I had to lean much harder on God’s word and on His forgiveness. It felt like such a battle with my own sinful heart. I took it to be a moment of greater temptation due to the fact that there had been greater learning. I had to lean on Christ forgiveness over my very sin if not forgiving. I thank God that he is faithful even when I am not.

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  5. Okay, I just breathed a sigh of relief…aahhh. Thank you ladies for yalls kind and gentle responses. I have forgotten about the battle too. Just this morning my husband was is this battle and now I will be praying for him and myself to press on! And I was reminded to enjoy God too!!! Praise be to God for wise and Godly sisters!

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  6. It was as if I WROTE THIS! This has plagued me forever to the point that I so wanted the Lord to take me home because I was feeling so lost about it all!! I have tears reading your response. Bless God and bless you. I am so blessed beyond words by your blog.

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