One of the keys to living the life God created us to live is to build our lives on His promises. A reminder that can help us in this area is that when we read any book it’s not the book that is speaking to us, it is the author. When we say something like, “that book really spoke to me,” we reveal a cognitive misunderstanding as well as a relational separation. The misunderstanding comes from the reality that books do not speak. They are not persons. They are inanimate objects made up of paper and ink. Books do not speak, authors do. So, when we read a book, it is not the book that has spoken to us, it is the author of the book that has spoken to us. So, it would be more accurate to say something like, “Rankin Wilbourne really spoke to me through his book Union With Christ.”
The reason we often do not mention the author when referring to books that we read highlights something even more important than a cognitive misunderstanding. It highlights the reality that we often have no relational connection with the author. As a result, when we read something the author has written, we don’t immediately think of the reality that the author is speaking to us. It seems like the book is speaking because we really don’t know the author of the book. As a result, when we read books without thinking about these realities, it seems like a very impersonal experience. It’s just us and the book, not us and the author of the book.
I believe part of our struggle with building our lives on the promises of God is that if we’re not careful we approach the Bible like we approach other books. I other words, it’s just us and the book rather than us and the author of the book. When we say things like “that verse really spoke to me,” it can reveal the same cognitive misunderstanding and relational separation we mentioned above. It can reveal that we have forgotten that the Bible has an author and it can reveal that we don’t have much of a relationship with the author.
So how does all of this relate to building our lives on the promises of God? It’s this: When we read the Bible we have to remember that God is the author. We have to remember that God authored the Bible in order to speak to us. He authored the Bible because He wants a relationship with us and because He has truths and promises that He wants to share with us so that we can know Him and so that we can live the lives He created us to live and so we can become part of His mission on planet earth. When we remember the cognitive and relational realities surrounding God’s word, it changes the way we approach it. When we realize that God is the Bible’s author and that God is speaking to us through the Bible it gives us much more motivation to apply the Bible to our lives because ultimately we aren’t building our lives on the Bible, we are living our lives out of a relationship with the God who speaks to us through the Bible.
I would compare this to is what happened many times in my home growing up. When me and my siblings were older, my parents had to leave for work before we were even out of bed. Sometimes they would leave a note on the table for reminders they wanted to give us or things they were asking us to do. They would always sign the note, “Love, Mom” or “Love, Dad.” And you see, that last part made all of the difference. These weren’t just impersonal instructions. They were written by a mom or a dad who loved me. Knowing that and remembering that completely changed the way I read them even if I wasn’t always excited about what they said!
That is very similar to what we need to remember when we read the Bible. Our loving God authored it and wants to speak to us through it today. If we remember that reality as we read the Bible it will have a dramatic impact on the way we relate to the message, including the promises, in the Bible!