My eyes scanned the short list of course-possibilities. I needed three more science hours for my college degree. The one that best fit my schedule? Ornithology. I was not enthused. Birds simply did not hold my interest.
I expected to just endure that class; instead I became enthralled, mainly because the professor was so enthusiastic. With humor and energy he shared his passion, and slowly his students became fascinated too. The more we learned, the more appreciative we became of the avian world.
To this day, I’m quick to grab my binoculars and study a pecking flicker or an upside down nuthatch dangling at the end of a branch. At least once a week my curiosity sends me to the bird guide so I can refresh my memory about habits (Should the robins still be here?) or exact names (Is that a downy woodpecker or a hairy?).
(It’s a hairy!)
Delight has determined my direction toward bird enthusiast.
No doubt you’ve discovered delights that determined direction also–into hobbies, book genres, even careers.
Eons ago, an anonymous psalmist recommended a supreme delight that determines a positive, satisfying life-direction: taking pleasure in God’s Word (Psalm 1:2).
“I don’t know about that,” someone might say. “I’ve tried reading the Bible. It simply does not hold my interest.”
After my transformation from bird-ignorer to bird enthusiast, I’d suggest that not only is interest possible, it is guaranteed if we:
- Attend class.
My professor, Dr. Burkholder, could not have changed my attitude if I had not been present. Neither can God perform his miracle of life-transformation if we don’t attend his class, in his Word. And our teacher is none other than the passionate Holy Spirit, who will guide us into all truth (John 16:13). How glorious is that?
- Stay focused.
Mindless listening to a lecture or distracted reading of a textbook results in little learning. That’s why we were taught to take notes in school. The same strategy works well while listening to Bible teaching or reading scripture for ourselves. I’ve been amazed by the discoveries and questions that come to mind when pen and paper are handy, compared to when they aren’t.
- Seek treasure.
Dr. Burkholder shared with us astounding trivia from the bird world. For example, did you know young hummingbirds that have never migrated before know when to leave their northern homes, how far to travel south, and when to stop—without benefit of other hummers? They fly solo too, even the first time. (Yet another proof of the genius of Creator God.)
God’s Word includes treasure far more valuable than intriguing trivia—such gems as: faith-building promises, wise guidance, worthy examples to follow (and some examples of what to avoid!), and uplifting encouragement–all ready to be discovered by those who seek.
Here’s where the analogy to my ornithology class breaks down. I can’t imagine one of us going to Dr. Burkholder and saying: “Open my eyes so that I will observe amazing things from your instruction.”
Yet those words make perfect sense when addressed to God. In fact, an anonymous psalmist said exactly that (119:18, ISV).
To read the whole Bible may seem overwhelming—it’s long and some parts are difficult to understand. But who says we have to start from the beginning and read straight through?
The internet offers numerous plans. One site that intrigued me:
They offer a number of different options, sure to meet the needs of just about anyone—from biblical novice to scholar.
Perhaps growing in our delight of God’s Word this year would be more impactful than any other resolution. After all, he made us. Developing delight in his Instruction Manual can’t help but lead us in a positive direction.
What delights in the Bible have helped determine positive direction in your life? Share an example in the Comments section below.
* “Delight determines direction”— a quote from Ray Pritchard, author and president of Keep Believing Ministries.
P.S. For 2017 I’ll be posting just once a week in order to allow time for other projects and for assisting our son and daughter-in-law when Baby Girl #2 arrives (sometime mid-January). I do hope you’ll still return each Thursday for a new post.