Kraft Dinner was good. Really good! Firm macaroni smothered in a cheesy sauce and topped with a squirt of ketchup. As a six-year-old, I thought nothing more was required. Heaven had come to earth. However, my older sister had other notions, and that was a problem because she was in charge. For whatever reason, stewed tomatoes adulterated the fluted pasta from the box that night. I protested, resisted and then rebelled. It did not end well for me or the stewed tomatoes. My sister dispatched me to my room and those clammy red things to the garbage.
Slimy or Succulent?
I was sharing a meal with a table of strangers at a conference. The topic landed on ‘favourites’ and someone identified stewed tomatoes as their night-time snack of choice. No thank-you! Bad memories, bad taste and a bad feel in the mouth, but to the stewed-tomato fellow all was good. What was slimy to my palette was succulent to his.
Our interaction with Scripture can resemble my attitude toward stewed tomatoes. We don’t find Scripture appealing, it isn’t a good match for our preferences, so we take a pass. Can we change, can we develop a taste for Scripture, even anticipate engaging with it?
Hearing God’s Word
Jesus said about his disciples that “they follow him because they know his voice” (Jn 10:4 NIV). Interacting with Scripture is one of the fundamental ways that we attune our hearts to the living word of God. Could it be that if we expected God to communicate to us through Scripture that we might interact with it more regularly and more sincerely?
I am not advocating what some have called Bible roulette, where we fan the pages and jab a finger onto a random text, twisting the selected words into a Christian fortune cookie. What I want to propose is less random and more trustworthy. Start with a prescribed reading plan, that requires only a modest pace. Before you read the portion for the day pray that God would highlight his word to your heart.
Read it once for a general understanding and re-read it for impact. The second time through what word, phrase, event, or emotion did God highlight to you. Reflect on why that is, pray about it. Listen for the voice of God through that Scripture. Test what you think you hear. Is it consistent with God’s character, with other Scriptural principles? Heed what rings true.
What helps you engage with Scripture?