Reading for transformation instead of ammunition

This morning I was running behind a bit, and when it was time to sit down and work on the book, I still had not spent any time in the Word. So I put off writing for a moment, and I grabbed my Bible and settled into a comfortable chair. As I began to open the pages, I thought to myself, “Maybe I’ll find something that I can use in the book.”

Immediately an alarm bell went off in my head. I was falling into a trap that is very common for ministers. I was about to read the Bible for ammunition instead of transformation. Ouch!

It is a common problem for Pastors and other ministers. Our lives are so busy with ministry that if we are not careful, we can think our time in the Word studying for a message is good enough. Not so, my friend!

God does not need me to be clever or wise. He does not need me to have a vast Scriptural knowledge base. He does not need me to have a seminary degree from the finest institution. He needs me to be in a right relationship with himself. Period. End of story. This subtle trap is what leads to failure in ministry.

Instead, our time in the Word should be for our personal transformation. Reading the Word is the primary way the Holy Spirit speaks to us. The time I spend reading the Word is time for the Holy Spirit to reveal to me areas of my life that need to change. It is the time that he encourages and strengthens me. I look forward to that time in the Word because I am aware of the presence of God with me as I read his Word. It is not something I discipline myself to do, it is something I do because I love him. I read because I am in relationship with him. I spend that time together because I am aware of his transforming work in my life. Then, when the Holy Spirit is at work in my life, I am empowered to do whatever ministry he may lead me to do.

The relationship always comes first. Then, out of that love relationship, God can use you and I any way he sees fit.

When this reminder to read for transformation instead of ammunition came to mind, I actually put my Bible down to write this note while it was fresh on my mind. So if you will excuse me, I need to get back to the real work of ministry today – reading the Word for transformation instead of ammunition. I’m excited to see what he has planned!