Nobody ever outgrows Scripture—the book widens and deepens with our years. (Charles Spurgeon)
Scripture doesn’t stagnate, but we can freeze frame the truths we experience and stagnate ourselves and others. Sometimes it happens quite innocently. We have an aha moment when we make a connection in Scripture. It’s as if God highlights a verse or section in our favorite color and adds a starry, sparkly filter. It makes sense. It applies to our lives and others’ as well. It might have been familiar before, but now it’s personal. It’s ours, and we claim it. Only it’s not ours. God is still the author. He’s the one who purposes and positions the truth. He doesn’t change. He doesn’t change truth. But he changes us as we trust him through the pursuit of truth with him.
How do we know when we stagnate? It is probably a bit different for everyone, but here are some common indicators:
- We have a handful of favorite verses we apply to just about every situation.
- We don’t know much beyond those verses.
- We’re not sure of the context of those verses.
- We will rally for our verses even if it means reasoning away others.
- We rarely engage in discussion about these or other verses. We’re aware of people’s misconceptions about them, and we’re sure they’re tilting them, and we’re not.
- We spend little time in God’s Word.
I get it: we all go through seasons of coasting, which typically follow seasons of steeping. Soaking in God’s truth strengthens us. We step forward, which is good, but sometimes we begin to feel strong on our own instead of remembering the source of our strength. God fills us up and we feel ready for a journey, but we forget we need to constantly be filled and fueled. We need directions, because the plans change. We need to pay attention or we’ll miss the important rerouting notifications and the warning and detour signs. Even when we’re consistently seeking him, we get it wrong at times. We don’t have the capability to understand and connect the dots. We let him make the connections and give the explanations we can handle, and what we can handle changes over time. So, if we grab and run as if our faith is a convenience store, we’ll soon reflect a moment of time but not a relationship. And God is all about relationship. Faith is all about relationship. We don’t cherry pick faith. There’s enough to constantly fill bucket after bucket, returning to the same again and again for nourishment.
Refuse to stagnate. Consistently engage with God. He will widen your perspective and deepen your faith.