Archive for October, 2016

Note: This article was taken from a Navigator on-line publication several years ago. I think it is even more important for all of us as many of our churches have become far removed from the core text of the Bible.

Current research supports Joshua 1:8!

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth,

but you shall meditate on it day and night,

so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it;

for then you will make your way prosperous,

and then you will have success.

How important is it for a man to spend time each day personally, reflectively reading Scripture? After all, he can listen to any number of teachers on the radio while traveling to and from work and his couple’s small group discuss Scripture passages or at least some religious idea. On Sunday he gets another shot of Scripture. Considering that he has probably been in the church environment for decades, he has probably logged some 800-1000 sermons!

In spite of this, we are painfully aware that when it comes to biblical values and behaviors, churched men do not display a distinctively different lifestyle from their nonreligious neighbors…accept for what they do on Sunday morning.

Discipleship is fundamentally a relationship with Christ. And relationship is the foundation to behavior. We are hardwired to need relationships and yet, most men have no other male friend with whom they feel close and safe enough to relate beyond news, weather, and sports.

In a man’s world, it is even difficult to find the language to talk about relationships. Most of the words that relate to deep friendships come across as feminine or romantic…like the word “intimate”. Most worship songs dealing with our relationship with God are perceived by men as feminine and do not reflect how one man talks to another. Since God and Christ are referred to and portrayed in the biological terms of Father, Son and our Brother, singing “I am so in love with You” creates angst in most men that probably explains why so few sing in our worship services.

Building deep relationships requires three elements regardless if we are relating to our wives, children, friends, or Christ.

Mutual respect

Shared experience

Consistent conversation

Let me highlight the consistent conversation element. Conversation must be two-way and honest. It must involve transparency if it is to deepen the relationship. It must have a high degree of consistency or regularity as well. Reflecting on God’s Word and praying from the platform for our conversation with Christ. Daily time reflecting on Scripture and responding back in prayer are at the core of relationship, real life transformation, and ultimate success. It is what God told Joshua centuries ago and it is still true today (Joshua 1:8).

For more than eight years, the Center for Bible Engagement has researched the spiritual lives of more than 100,000 people from around the world. The overall conclusion: Engaging the Bible most days of the week is critical to grow in the Christian faith.* Their findings include:

If people reflect on the Bible four or more times a week, their “odds” of giving in to temptations such as drinking to excess, viewing pornography, lashing out in anger, gossiping, and lying, significantly decrease.

Drinking to excess: -62%

Viewing pornography: -59%

Having sex outside of marriage: -59%

Gambling: – 45 %

Lashing out in anger: -31%

Receiving, reflecting on, and responding to God’s Word four or more times a week decreases a person’s odds of struggling with issues such as feeling bitter, thinking destructively about self or others, having difficulty forgiving others, and feeling discouraged.

Feeling bitter: -40%

Feeling discourage: -31%

Experiencing loneliness: -30%

Christians engaging in the Scripture most days of the week strongly predicts a more proactive faith.

Giving financially to a church: +416%

Memorizing Scripture: +407%

Sharing their faith with others: +228%

Giving financially to causes other than their church: +218%

These results probably don’t surprise you, but this one will. They found no statistical difference between those that read or listened to the Bible one to three days a week and those who do not at all!

The research also showed that attending church made no difference in a man’s behavior. If we are to see men changed to reflect Christ, to inculcate His values and character, we must challenge them to step up and make a daily appointment with God a life-long, spiritual practice. A relationship with Christ, consistent reflection on Scripture, and godly behavior cannot be separated.

*Scientific Evidence for the Power of 4, Center for Bible Engagement, December 2009/12

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