How are you? I’m well.
With the new year, 2021 starting, I began to read the Bible from the book of Genesis, thinking I would read book by book every day and I would read the whole 66 books by early February or so. After that, I would meditate on the Words slowly, but at least I would read through the whole Bible once a year.
For the first ten days in January this year, I read a book from the Old Testament and another book from the New Testament, making a turn from the Old and the New Testament every day. I played out the audio Bible online and followed its reading. And you know what? I had no joy in reading His Words at all. I felt it was purely out of sense of responsibility, but not out of my desire to know the Person, Jesus. Then, on January 10th, before going to bed, I happened to watch Pastor Mike Bickle’s teaching, “How Then Shall We Live?: How to Pray-Read the Word.” He shared his testimony that when he read the book of John, chapter five, at the age of eighteen, the Holy Spirit highlighted the first time in his life the Scriptures, John 5:39~40:
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
It changed his life, as the Holy Spirit made him realize he was searching the Scriptures, but he didn’t come to Jesus. Since then, he read the Words, talking to Him, “Thank you, Lord for Your love. Reveal more to me.” His testimony just hit me at the right time. And I knew the Lord was speaking to me, to correct me. Even after I read a Jeanne Guyon’s book in December 2020, “Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ” and tried to pray the Scriptures, I set my own rule to read through the Bible at least once a year. I’m not saying that reading through the Bible once a year is wrong. But my heart attitude was wrong, as it was from my pride.
Before I got baptized by the Holy Spirit, I didn’t really read the Bible much. My reading the Scriptures for the past decades was mainly on the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. But after the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I had hunger for His Words and began to read through the rest of the Bible. Then, I set a goal that I must read through the Bible at least once a year. It is seemingly good, but it always matters what our heart motives are. From a certain point in time, I knew it became like a religion to me. I reckon it as sheer self-righteousness and pride to try to read the bible through (though I didn’t brag to others about it). For the first ten days of this year while reading book by book, I knew my heart was simply overwhelmed without joy. When I played out the audio Bible, I first checked how long it would take and got overwhelmed. One day it was less than 3 hours, the other day it was more than 3 hours. And I had no joy in reading the Words, but I was burdened by the goal I set. And I was reminded of the elevator dream where I saw Pastor Mark Johnson and a bicycle in the elevator, which I interpreted were the Holy Spirit and legalism, respectively, like I shared in my previous blog, “The Word of God.” It was the bicycle, i.e. legalism, self-righteousness that stood in my way to push the elevator button for my destination, Jesus. I was not willing to come to the Person, Jesus, to know Him more and to be intimate with Him, but I was just trying to search the Scriptures by my own set of rules. The Lord never set a rule to me that I should read through the Bible at least once a year! I must throw away the bicycle, but I have to follow the Holy Spirit, to meet the Person, Jesus.
After I listened to Pastor Mike Bickle’s testimony and realized my wrong heart motive, I couldn’t help repenting before going to bed. I knelt down and said to the Lord, “Father, I repent of my pride in my heart. I tried to read through the Bible not willing to know You, but out of legalism and out of my pride.” Then, I heard Him saying in a gentle way, “Yes, you were like Martha!” At His words, I simply smiled, nodding. Precisely, I almost laughed out loud, as I couldn’t agree more with Him and I knew what He was trying to say. I was immediately reminded of what I read on Martha and Mary from the Jeanne Guyon’s book, “Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ.”
You will recall that Martha was doing something which was very correct, and yet the Lord rebuked her! Why? Because what she was doing, she was doing in her own strength. Martha was not following the moving of the Spirit within her. You must realize, dear reader, that the soul of man is naturally restless and turbulent. Your soul accomplishes very little even though it always appears busy. The Lord said to Martha, “You are careful and troubled over so many things. But only one thing is needed! Mary has chosen that good part which shall not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41-42) And what had Mary chosen? She had chosen to rest peacefully and tranquilly at the feet of Jesus. She had ceased to live that Christ might be her life! This illustration highlights just how necessary it is for you to deny yourself and all your activity to follow Jesus Christ. If you are not led by His Spirit, you cannot follow Him.
Guyon, Jeanne. Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ (p. 56). Kindle Edition.
Since that night, I felt such a joy and freedom from the legalism. I chose not to be busying around, but to rest at the feet of Jesus, longing to talk to and listen to Him and know Him more. I rebuffed the way I would read the Bible, like the Pharisees did. Rather I chose to be John the beloved, who leaned on Jesus’ bosom. I don’t want head knowledge and ritual. I rather want to know the Person, Jesus and make friends with Him.
Are you like Martha or Mary? A few days ago, I was surprised to receive Lana Vawser’s words, I had a dream and I heard the Lord say “Meditate on what it would have been like for Mary to sit at My feet.” I believe this is what the Lord requires from us in this new season. I pray you and I become Mary, led by the Holy Spirit, and that we choose the good one that will not be taken from us forever, in Jesus’ name.
Have a bliss!
but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:5b~6)