The Bible is like a vitamin. It’s not like an aspirin, which offers fairly fast and definite results. It’s not like a meal, which most people look forward to and plan their lives around, and which makes you weak and cranky if you skip it even once. No, the Bible is more like a vitamin.
I take an iron pill every day. I started this regimen because I like to donate blood every eight weeks, and for a while I was not able to donate because my iron count kept showing up below the required 12.5g/dL.
…and the results show up in the test
Now, when I swallow this iron pill each morning, the result is not immediate. I do not feel a mood lift or a sudden surge of energy or anything. In fact, even after a week or two of iron pills, I’m not stronger, or happier, or more vibrant.
But I am able to donate blood. Without the pills, my hemoglobin is usually in the 10s or 11s. With the pills, I’m as high as 13.6.
So it’s doing something. Even though I can’t tell.
Now, this might be a kind of depressing comparison to Bible-reading, because people want God’s Word to have a more dramatic effect on their lives! They want a burst of light or an angel chorus, and when they don’t get that, they think the Bible’s not working. But the point is this: If you want to see the effects of daily Bible-reading, you have to put yourself in situations where you can see them.
…and the results show up in the tests
I wouldn’t know the difference those iron pills are making if I didn’t get my blood tested every eight weeks by the good people at LifeSource. It’s a simple test, and the results are straightforward.
But what about tests for Bible reading? Are there indicators that might show God’s Word is making a difference? What about things like:
- Being able to write a meaningful verse in a sympathy card
- Resisting an urge to gossip about a co-worker
- Recognizing whether taking advantage of a particular opportunity would be wise or foolish
- Discerning the unspoken needs of someone who asks for prayer
- Answering questions from a Hindu curious about the Christian God
- Feeling peace instead of fear
- Feeling confident instead of apathetic
Most of these are not dramatic. And if I stopped reading the Bible, I might still be able to do them for a while. But they seem to go better when I’m in the Word and the Word is in me.
The simple fact is, without my daily iron pill, I am not a blood donor. I might hang out at the blood center, I might wear the “Be nice to me…” sticker, I might talk about all the times I’ve donated blood in the past. But without that iron pill, I stop being a blood donor.
Is there a parallel here between reading the Bible and calling myself a Christian?