How Much of the Bible is Enough? — Matthew 4:4

Are you connecting with Christ? (Painting: Prayer by Mark Dachille, mark.thewildhoods.com)

I’ll never forget when my mother announced she was going to start running. She’s a tiny woman, 5’2″, with a pretty and youthful appearance. When she’d visit me in college my friends sometimes asked if she was a friend of mine from home. She is also very bookish and education oriented, today she has a Masters in International Studies and a PhD in Education. So it surprised me when she made this proclamation because I never saw her run before. I was home from college for spring break when she said she would start by jogging to get the mail — the mailbox was a half a block from the house.

“Mom,” I said, “you can’t start a running regimen by jogging to the mailbox. You’ll never progress that way.”

“We’ll see,” she replied.

A few days later I headed back to school where I studied, played sports, pursued girls — the usual college scene. When I came home for the summer, my mom asked if I’d like to accompany her on a run in Moraine Hills State Park just a few miles from our house in Island Lake, Illinois.

“How far will we be going?” I asked.

“Oh, seven miles.”

Yea, sure, I thought to myself. From a jog to the mailbox to seven miles. Not likely. I agreed to go, so we drove to Moraine Hills, found the trail head, and began our run.

After a couple of miles mom showed no signs of slowing or fading, and I was kind of wishing she would, because although I was only twenty, I hadn’t been doing much beyond an occasional basketball game. After four miles I asked to take a short break. By the end of the seven miles I had asked for two more breaks and was hanging on for dear life! When we arrived back home I collapsed into bed and took a two hour nap. I was buried on a seven mile run — by my mom!

I asked mom how she went from jogging to the mail box to someone who might qualify for the Boston Marathon, and she said she simply made a point to run a little bit each day. Little by little she was able to increase her distance and speed until she was capable of embarrassing her twenty year old son on the trails of Moraine Hills State Park.

This is a great illustration of the power available to you found in doing something daily, even if it’s just a little bit at a time. Combining this principal with reading the scriptures is a key to your relationship with Christ.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness He made the statement, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Jesus quotes scripture here in a manner that declares God’s written word as the ultimate authority. And during this time in the wilderness, he quotes two more scriptures in like fashion, “It is written…” Any honest evaluation of Jesus’ life reveals His regard for God’s word as completely authentic. But beyond that, Jesus is quoting here from Deuteronomy 8:3, the full verse of which reads, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

Here’s what I see for your future should you decide not to pursue investing time in God’s word. Because He cares for your eternal condition more than your current comfort, because He will always do what He knows to be best for you, because of His great love for you, because He’s not content for you to remain the person you are today but desires to grow you, God will certainly allow you to be humbled, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. We human beings often seem to require a good drubbing before we move our relationship with Christ to the forefront of our lives. I am as bad as anyone. We learn from experience but it doesn’t have to be our own experience, we can learn from someone else’s. Why then do I seem to need to learn the hard way, I don’t understand. I suppose it’s just my innate human appetite for doing it my own way without interference from God. I remember times when I held back from going deeper in my relationship with Christ because I was afraid it would take away from my career, or my retirement investments, or my entertainment, or my recreation. It wasn’t until the Lord allowed me to be humbled, in a variety of ways, that I fully surrendered myself to Him. And even now at times the old kurt creeps in, so I have to continually surrender. I have to surrender daily.

My advice to you — don’t wait for God to bring humbling experiences into your life to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Read God’s word, just a little bit each day. It’s easy to do. You can even subscribe to a Bible Gateway daily reading plan if you want to. Don’t even worry about reading everything they send you, just read a little from the Old Testament and New Testaments, even if it’s one verse each. The key is to do it each day, every day. It’s not a question of how much of the Bible you read each day but how often. And when you do, as you feel like it, pause and pray to God as you’re reading — make it a conversation. Ask Him questions, make requests. After a couple of months evaluate your life and see if you don’t notice a difference.

If you really want to become a disciple of Christ’s, if you really want to know the truth about God and your own life, then come and see what a little time each day in God’s word will do.

“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

–Jesus Christ John 8:31-32

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