One week, my fifth grade Sunday school teacher placed her Bible on the table before us and covered it with baseball cards, stickers, a handheld video game, and magazines. Then she asked, “Can you see the Bible under all of these distractions?”
I have not always appreciated what she was trying to say in that moment. While I do keep up with my favorite baseball team, the latest page-turner, news, and culture, my Bible has always been near. Yet I must admit that far too often its impact has been reduced when I gave too much time and attention to lesser things.
At best, such diversions are pleasant, but the truth is that they’re never fulfilling. I’m learning to be less satisfied with them. I want more than a simple distraction—don’t you? That’s why I resonate so deeply with the truth that joy comes from knowing Christ better and leaning into Him more. In his sermon “Hungering and Thirsting for God,” Dr. Stanley describes it this way: “When you have a hungering, thirsting relationship with God, do you know what happens? You get freed. God begins to free you from the tug and the pull of the world. Why? Because now your soul is feasting upon God Himself. Your spirit is feasting upon God as you listen to Him, and read His Word, and talk to Him.”
My Bible has always been near. Yet far too often its impact has been reduced when I gave much time and attention to lesser things.
When I rise a little earlier to spend a few more minutes—an hour even—with God and His Word, there’s an immeasurable boost within my spirit. I become confident in Him, less reluctant about my challenges, less frightened for the future, and more joyful about the day. And as I pray a scripture back to God, I understand what the writer of Hebrews meant when he called this truth “living and active … sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12).
The lesser things still interest me, but as I learn to live before God, engaged and more connected, they become gifts to enjoy—not passions that take His place in my heart.