“I am the vine;
you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me
and I in him,
he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5 (ESV)
“When a worship leader reads the Bible you can tell.”
Carlos Whittaker is a worship leader, author and speaker. So I’m betting he knows that his statement extends from “worship leader” to “writer” to “speaker” to “someone.”
Personally, I can spot “trite” messages in a New York minute. I’m betting I’m not the only one.
Worship leaders who speak in the vagueness of song lyric poetry and speakers who spend extended time telling stories and weaving metaphors without connecting them to truth in scripture. Words dripping in entertainment, feel good inspiration or contrived attempts to stir emotion. Words that don’t lead to deeper understanding or dredge up self-examination. Fluffy words that don’t scrape the bottom to dredge up conviction or reveal underlying pride or fear.
Carlos Whittaker is right. When someone reads the Bible, you can tell.
For me, the opposite is true as well. When I’m NOT spending time in the Word, you can tell. My words turn thin, losing both depth and meaning. And if you know me, you know I love me some depth and meaning. When I’m not spending time in the Word – and in prayer – my perspective shifts to my own little corner (yes, that is a R&H Cinderella reference).
But when I let go of the grip I have on “my” day and ask God to bless me with a desire for Him, I find myself drawn to Him. I actually WANT to read the Word and spend time with Him.
Notice I didn’t start with “If I just read the Bible.” I started with prayer asking God to bless me with a desire to read the Bible. Because, I know me. On my own, my tendency would be to curl up with a cuppa joe and a good book ABOUT the Bible.
Some days, my tendency is to curl up with a cuppa joe and my laptop and allow the internet to suck the time out of my day.
But when I spend time in God’s living Word, it lives in me and there’s no keeping it in check. My perspective shifts from my own limited and skewed point of view to consider people and relationships and circumstances from God’s greater vantage point.
I ABIDE in Him.
So I pray for a desire for the Word.
And I pray for the motivation to actually READ it.
And I pray for the Holy Spirit to open the scriptures to me and help me to understand and apply its timeless truths to my life TODAY.
And I pray for the Holy Spirit to equip me – and put words in my mouth when I speak so that the word “trite” is never an adjective anyone could or would ever use to describe the words that come out of my mouth.