God has blessed me time and time again through the small community of blog commenters who engage with me. Two weeks ago, we discussed the things about fiction that hinder us (born-again believers) as runners of the race marked out for us.
I’m grateful for friends who take the liberty to explore meaningful rabbit trails. One such friend said:
But then again, can reading even clean books become a waste of time?
There was a time where every book I read hindered my relationship with God. Not because of the book in itself or the content, but because I relied on the books to calm my anxiety, instead of relying on God. Sometimes, I still have to ask myself, “why am I reading?”. Is it to have a good time reading a book or to run away from my anxiety or responsibilities again?
I think that second comment captured one of the pitfalls that avid readers fall into.
We have commitments and responsibilities that wear down on us. We crave release from the pressures of everyday life. We turn to books because they so engage and grip us that we forget where we are. We escape to a world of fiction.
I’m not sure if it’s always bad to read in order to relax or unwind or escape. Maybe you have thoughts on that. But when we depend on books, I think there’s a problem. Books then take the place of the One on Whom we were designed to depend. That’s idolatry.
Some books are good in that they point us back to Christ. But there are 66 books that are holy – literally set apart from all other literature – because they’re inspired by the Holy Spirit in a way that no other book is. That’s right, I’m talking about the 66 books that you’ll find in the table of contents at the front of your Bible.
You say, “Really? All 66 books? What about Leviticus with all its outdated customs? What about Ezekiel and Daniel with all their confusing visions?”
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
-2 Timothy 3:16
See, the 66 books of the Bible don’t provide oblivion during the fleeting minutes and hours that we’re reading them and then see us on our way. Rather we “escape” to them and are thoroughly equipped to go back into the world and do every good work which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Shall we talk?
- What is your go-to haven of rest when you feel the need to escape life?
- Is it okay to just read fiction to relax, wind down or escape? When?
- How have you been equipped by unlikely books and passages in the Bible?