Unlike those who remember the date, time, and place they became a Christian, I don’t. My spiritual journey has been gradual – rocky at times, beautifully glorious in its highs, and irreverently nonchalant in between.
I am a believer. However, there are obstacles in my faith. Most are between me and God, but one of the challenges I can publicly admit is my Bible illiteracy. I am almost embarrassed at how little I know of the Word: stories behind Jesus’ miracles, his lineage, the incest, violence, scandal, and it’s not even like I didn’t go to Sunday School. I’ve heard it’s a rapturous read.
So, I’ve decided to read the Bible. My strategy heretofore has been mostly epiphanic. If I feel a little lost or need more structure in prayer, I flip to Romans, Corinthians, or Luke. They’re the only full chapters I’ve read before, so I know there’s good stuff. What happens in the Old Testament after God creates the world? Um, Noah’s Arc…?
I have a lot to learn. I’m tackling the New Testament first. I started a couple days ago with Matthew, which captures Jesus’ teachings and relationship with His disciples. From a literary standpoint, it’s really quite good. There’s character development, plot, and alas, drama. But I’m not reading this for literary pleasure. This is to be better rooted in faith, in peace, in Him.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
– Matthew 16:24-27