I was never one of those people you would find lying on the beach, cuddled up by a fireplace, or sitting in a coffee shop, enjoying a good book. The library was not a place to find a good read, but a place for me to find DVDs and magazines. Despite the fact that I’ve grown up around book lovers my entire life, I loathed reading. Other than the books I was forced to read in school, I can count the number of books I’ve read on 2 hands. But to my surprise (and to those who knew me growing up) I have found a love and a passion for reading! I could now spend hours in the library or used book stores, and going out with my husband to read sounds like a perfect date.
This year I read over 7,000 pages in the Directed Readings in Discipleship Course, reading books on many different topics, such as the character of God, worldview, and church history. My life was impacted in greater ways than I ever imagined, and has produced in me a strong desire to learn. Let me share with you why I think every believer should practice the discipline of reading.
It Will Enrich Your Personal Relationship With God
Reading different perspectives from many different authors has caused me to think more deeply about my beliefs. I came across opinions I agreed with, some that I disagreed with, and some that I wasn’t sure if I agreed with or not, which lead me to seek God for answers. This doesn’t mean that I have formed opinions on everything and have found all of the answers, but it has forced me to trust God and rely on him for wisdom.
Reading will quickly remind you of how much you desperately need God!
Reading will also enhance your relationship with God because you will find many areas in your life that you can improve on. Whether you are a new believer or you have been following Christ for years, you will always find areas of your life that need to be surrendered to Jesus. Reading on a regular basis is an extremely humbling experience if you focus on applying truth to your life. Reading is very beneficial because of the knowledge you will gain, but all of this is useless if you do not apply the truth to your own life. If you find yourself becoming stagnant or complacent in your walk with God, reading will quickly remind you of how much you desperately need God!
It Will Equip You to Disciple Others
The discipline of reading is an essential tool for becoming an effective discipler. For many years I have had a heart to disciple others, but I lacked the proper skills to do so. Unfortunately, due to my lack of study, I have made mistakes in discipling others. I did not know what I was doing, even though my intentions were good. Learning more about God’s character, my own identity, and my relationships with others has better equipped me to disciple others. I now feel more confident in my ability to disciple, which has led to a greater passion within me to see God’s truth change the lives of others.
It Will Give You a Heart for the Lost
Sharing the truth with those who do not believe in Jesus has always been a scary task for me because I lacked the confidence to share my beliefs. My fear of not having all of the right answers, or not having any answers at all, stopped me from sharing the gospel to a world that is full of questions. Through reading, I have been convicted of my responsibility to spread the gospel. I am no longer satisfied with simply saying “I do not know”, and then letting others do the hard work. All believers are called to share the good news of Christ, which means we must cultivate our minds to be able to effectively share the truth with our world.
So Pick Up a Book!
As my mind grows, it may make possible the growth of others
“We do not develop our intellects merely for our own personal advancement, but we put our thinking to work for the use of others… As my mind grows, it may make possible the growth of others.” Gordon MacDonald
I have learned that having a regular discipline of reading will create a deep hunger within you to learn. We do not read so that we can be puffed up with knowledge. We read to be able to share this knowledge with others, which will lead to seeing lives changed as they experience the truth of Jesus impact their lives.