A Brief Meditation for the Month

September 2020

Upon entering many contemporary ‘Christian bookshops,’ we become aware of the popularity of what is defined as ‘Christian novels.’ These are mostly targeted at a female readership, many of them at teenagers. However, the sections in many of these outlets displaying serious theological material appears to be increasingly diminishing. ‘Devotional’ reading also seems to be less popular than in the past. Lamentably, increasing numbers are using some of what is presently available as ‘devotional,’ as a substitute for the Bible itself. This decline in serious mind-stimulating and heart-searching reading material, requiring a degree of mental effort on the part of the reader, is an indication of an alarming change in attitude to spiritual matters. Many Christians today appear to be shy of either reading material or preaching that requires the employment of the intellect. We fear that analytical, reflective thinking has become too much to ask of a growing number of Christians in this generation. Even attendance at church services nowadays seems to be more for relaxation and entertainment than for divine worship. An increasingly popular opinion is that thinking is for scientists, not Christians. Christians believe. They don’t need to think.

We do well to remember that God created us as rational, intelligent creatures. Thus, we possess the faculty and the capacity to think, reason, analyse, and understand information and facts. In his dealings with humanity, God has providentially given a revelation of his mind and will in written form. The Bible, the written word of God, is intended for reading. To neglect the reading of the Bible is not, therefore, just insulting to God its author; but it is detrimental to our relationship with God. Communion with God is a two-way engagement. For example, we address God in prayer while he answers us and speaks to us through his written word. Thus, the quality of personal spirituality results from our attention to the Scriptures, “given by inspiration of God,” 2Timothy 3:16. Even yet within our increasingly humanistic, secular, and hedonistic society, many continue to possess bibles, but sadly many are seldom opened, far less read. Our society’s ignorance of God is the direct result of neglect, or else the deliberate rejection of the Bible. It is on record that on one occasion, King George V of Britain asserted the following: “It is my confident hope that my subjects may never cease to cherish their noble inheritance in the English Bible which is the first of national treasures. Its spiritual significance is the most valuable thing the world affords.” We now witness a very different attitude within modern society. For many of our citizens, God, it seems, is no longer needed. On occasions, it even appears that there is hostile resentment to any perceived interference from Him in society’s affairs. Man, generally, imagines he has advanced beyond dependence upon God for anything. Thus, if he does not need God, it follows, he can manage his affairs without God’s guidance through his word.

Whatever the attitudes of modern society, what Jesus said remains true: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. My dear Christian reader, upon what is your mind feeding? Is your soul being nourished from God’s word, or are you hoping to grow spiritually while occupying your mind with shallow, superficial substitutes? Dear friend, let no other voice, however appealing, replace that which speaks from Scripture. Prayerfully use your mind to study God’s word.

G. G. Hutton.