I host a small group for high school guys once a week. The youth pastor does most of the teaching and then at the end we break up and digest what he talked about.
I love it. I feel like high school is such a vulnerable age for a Christian and seeing them want to learn more about Jesus is very encouraging.
One question I always ask them is how often do they read the Bible. The answers vary from only on Sunday at Church to everyday.
Why is this question so important that I ask it weekly or more to these guys?
You can’t do what you don’t know
How can you obey Jesus’ commands if we don’t know what he said?
That’s why we need to constantly be in God’s word.
Yes, you can believe in Jesus without reading the Bible, but you can’t do what he wants us to do. He has very specific commands throughout the gospels and we can’t follow any of them if we don’t read what he wants us to do.
You need to know the hard verses
We always talk about Jesus with a few select verses. The “Hallmark verses.” These are the ones you know that make you feel good. The ones that would be on a Hallmark card because it’s just inspiring.
This is the Jesus a lot of us know. The problem is that’s not the real Jesus. Jesus did a lot of things that aren’t what we want to hear. He spoke some very difficult truths. Here’s a few verses that come to mind:
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” Matthew 5:28
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16
Knowing these verses gives us a fuller understanding of what Jesus preached. You need to know everything Jesus said.
I have a friend who is about 100 lbs overweight. He brags that his cholesterol is good. He never mentions that he is diabetic, has high blood pressure and a few other things. He is choosing to listen to the good parts of his health and not his overall health. Yes it feels good to talk about the things you’re doing right. But by not addressing the things that are difficult to adress it will lead to a worse life.
That’s what we do with Jesus when we choose to only acknowledge the good verses Jesus spoke and not the entire Gospel. We need to know the whole Jesus to have a good life.