Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind (Luke 10:27).
If you were to ask me where my ‘happy’ place was, it wouldn’t take me long to answer that question.
Bookstores. No doubt about it.
Maybe a ‘book nook’ in my home someday, if I’m lucky.
I’ve seen this incredible DIY project where someone cleared out a closet space, lined the walls with shelves, wedged a cushioned bench with pillows and blankets to the back of the space, and filled the shelves with books.
Considering I don’t have the space or the resources to actually make a ‘book nook’ of my own at the moment, I’ll settle for bookstores.
The Solid Rock is the only local bookstore around, so you can imagine I frequent that place often.
Whether I plan on buying a book or not, I love just meandering around; breathing in the scent of crisp pages that hold mysteries and promises of new places.
I love the anticipation of a new book; the excitement of learning something new or getting lost in a land that can only be found in the mind.
As much as I love fiction such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, I will always end up scanning the shelves of the Christian Living section; specifically books written by and for women; authors such as Beth Moore, Jen Wilkin, and Ann Voskamp.
That’s where I’ve always gone. In fact, it was a book written by Logan Wolfram in that exact section of the bookstore that got me through a really tough time in my life.
I always felt better after thumbing through those books.
But that’s just it though.
I felt better.
Was I really better? Probably not.
But it worked for the time being.
It was recently brought to my attention though that majority of the books and resources found in the women’s section of a Christian bookstore specifically hone in on feelings.
Feelings of insecurity.
Feelings of having to prove oneself.
Feelings of inadequacy.
Feelings of worthlessness and anxiety.
The list could go on and on, as there seems to be a book for just about any and every emotion and feeling concocted by the female brain. And in due fashion, the lessons and insights offered by these books always follows suit – they offer good feelings as a combat against the negative ones; something to make you feel better about yourself.
Of course, there are always accompanying Scriptures to help solidify how we should feel about ourselves as daughters of the King. But often, I’ve found that as readers, we misconstrue this to focus on the ‘daughters’ part instead of the ‘King’ part.
The books themselves aren’t necessarily the problem. The problem is that these books which offer good feelings are too often prioritized and valued higher than the Book of Truth.
Much of the literature that I’ve filled my bookshelf with, though good and very beneficial during those particular moments in my life, showed me more about myself than they did about God.
They were beneficial, but by no means foundational.
In fact, in its truest sense, we could say the same about each and every book other than the Bible itself.
They are beneficial, and should certainly be utilized for study and guidance, but should never replace the living Word of God which endures forever (1 Peter 1:25) as the foundation of our understanding and wisdom.
Even this blog, though I try my hardest to make it Scripturally sound and focused only uses Scripture to supplement its points and purposes.
It, along with any other uninspired word, stands in no comparison to the living Word of God.
In all of our Biblical studies and pursuits, the Bible; the Word that was in the beginning, the Word that was with God, and the Word that was God (John 1:1-2); the Word that is life and the light of all mankind (John 1:4). That Word should be the foundation of all Bible study; the core of our understanding, with uninspired works of Christian authors being secondary to the only Word that is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness; thoroughly equipping the servant of God for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Augustine once said that “the Bible is shallow enough for a child not to drown, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim.”
The Bible is so much more than quotable, feel-good sayings that fit on a notecard.
Scripture is more than a piece of literature; it is more than just a good read.
The Word of God is an unequivocal declaration and testament to the sovereignty, the power, the glory, and the majesty of God Almighty.
“The Bible, from beginning to end, is a shameless and glorious declaration of the nature and character of God before it says anything about who we are.” -Jen Wilkin
Don’t settle for emotional highs and butterflies when reading the Bible.
Don’t approach the living and active Word of God that is sharper than any double-edged sword which penetrates soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12) with the expectation of learning more about who you are.
“Our fears and doubts will never be banished by a knowledge of who we are but only by an understanding of the Great I Am. We have to see ourselves in relation to God. Every time we approach Scripture, we must first seek to understand who God is before seeking to understand who or what we are.” -Jen Wilkin
Don’t settle for feelings.
You’re smart. You have been given the capacity, through the knowledge of Jesus Christ, to know that which surpasses all understanding (Ephesians 3:19, Philippians 4:7).
We are told to love the Lord our God with all our heart (yes, feelings; but that’s not all), all our soul, with all our strength and with all our mind (our intellect and understanding; with what we know to be Truth).
Change starts with the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2), from which we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.