Are you a local or a tourist?
by Chris Forder
When it comes to your Bible, are you a local or a tourist? After Cameron’s sermon on Sunday and Alpha in a few weeks, we will see the importance of knowing your Bible. Jesus said we are to listen to and accept his words; Mark 4. But do you? It is like your home town, you are either a local or a tourist. Let me explain.
When I first came to Cairns, people were telling me the places I must go and the places I must avoid. Not being a local, I took people at their word. I was a tourist. But now, I am a local and I know for myself, some of the places to avoid and the best places to go, and I can decide this for myself as opposed to having someone tell me. (The advice wasn’t always true).
The same is true with the Bible. Think of the 66 books of the Bible as different places in Australia. You might be content with travel agents, let’s call that listening to sermons. Or you may google map places and look at pictures. Let’s call that reading commentaries, but you don’t know the places or should I say the books of the Bible yourself. You have never really been there and so you can be misled. Let’s stick with the Bible now. If you’ve visited a book occasionally, you might know a few facts about a particular chapter or verse. You also might be familiar with its well-known, “touristy” passages—like the famous story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel. But if you don’t know the book firsthand, at street level, it is hard to make it real in your life and empower you to live Christ centred, Cross fuelled lives for others and the glory of God.
And here is an important thing: our desire is not just to simply read the Bible, but to delight in it. Our heart is to rejoice in our good God as we encounter him in the pages of his amazing word. We seek to enjoy our Cross brought intimacy with God and we do this with joy. It is not a chore but a privilege.
We all live busy lives, and we can all find it hard to make time, but this is the most important relationship we have. I always make time to enjoy my wife and kids, to just sit with them and listen. So, why don’t I make time to enjoy God? Friends, stop letting the pleasures of this world take you away, the worries of this world rob you, and the deceitfulness of wealth destroy your life-giving relationship with God. Don’t be a tourist of the Bible but be who you are, one of God’s chosen and loved people, be a local.
The good news of the Gospel is not just that Jesus died for our sins, but that we get God. Jesus died so that our sins would be removed and we can have a relationship God. Praise the LORD!
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