Today is the last day where I took 40 days of not reading any books other than the Bible (with the exception of an occasional Oswald Chambers short devotional). I did it out of a recognition that while I read Scripture daily, I read a lot of other books. Mostly books that inspire my faith but the bottom line is they were getting more of my time and attention than the Bible.
I realized some things in these 40 days. First of all, that 40 days is a LONG time. Maybe if I do any of these experiments I’ve been talking about 40 days would be a good number. It’s long enough that you really get challenged to break old paradigms. Secondly during this 40 day absence of reading other books I began to think about the kind of books I have been reading. Most of them are stories about people living the kind of life that I long to live, doing the things that I would like to be doing, and God willing hope to be doing someday. Dreams I’ve been pursuing for years. Yearnings of the heart that only God knows if they will come to fruition.
Even more than that though in the past few weeks I feel like I’ve really had a new desire to read and meditate on Scripture. I’ve WANTED to and have had the desire to read Scripture more than usual. I’ve also read things and my eyes have been more open to things I haven’t seen before, little details I missed or parts that I thought I understood but really didn’t. It’s been so good. Perhaps we have a subtle hunger that is easily suppressed when fed too quickly with the substitute, albeit a good one.
The next question on the table is “where to from here?” It’s kind of like ending a diet or a fast and the first thing you want to do is run out and gobble down all the food you couldn’t have. But the greater desire I have is a hunger not to lose…the hunger. The hunger for the Word. I want to look forward each time I come to the Word and not just with a hunger of the head or even the heart but a hunger of the spirit. Not just the intentional, dedicated approach to the Word but the approach of one who smells fresh baked bread (and knowing that there’s real butter in the fridge). Perhaps this isn’t the end of an experiment but just the beginning of a new one.