Has anyone every tried to sell you on something by telling you up front that it would be addictive? I honestly don’t know how that could be perceived as a good thing. “You should really start something you won’t have any control over anymore.” Let’s just say, it doesn’t work for everything.
Years back, when I was fresh out of college and working three jobs just to stay alive, I had the wonderful privileged of cooking for a catering service. The cooks would often break together and most of them smoked. I’ve never smoked a day in my life, but as a jest, one of the other cooks asked me if I wanted a cigarette. Then I asked him, “If you hadn’t started smoking at 14, would you recommend someone starting when they were 21?” He had to admit, “No!” You see, even though he smoked, he couldn’t concede that it would be a good idea for anyone to start. But how many times in his life had he been an influence for someone else to pick up smoking?
A while back, someone recommended that I start playing ‘Scrabble With Friends.’ I’m already on ‘Words With Friends’ and I dominate (Challenge me if you dare: RevAJMiller). Her persuasive argument to get me on ‘Scrabble With Friends’ was, “It’s addicting. You’ll love it.” I’m not so sure. First of all, I couldn’t figure out how to set up the “Scrabble With Friends” with my “Words With Friends” id, so I just gave up. But beyond that, do I really want something else that is addictive in my life?
I have a rule about video games: I never play them alone. I understand that this is a personal rule, and it’s not even practical because there are a lot of video games that are only made for single players, but it is something that I had to institute as a personal conviction. Now that I think of it, I guess my own rule doesn’t even apply to games on my iPhone, which are rather addicting as well. There is no better way to waste a whole day than to spend it playing a video game. The more challenging it is, the more addicting it becomes. “I just have to get past this one level!” Then you die and get frustrated, but you can’t just leave it at that. You must persevere until you overcome.
Not everything that is addicting is good for you, but this phrase doest have a purpose. I was just talking with a pastor the other day about how to motivate and drive people deeper into their relationship with God. It’s one of those mysteries because often times the more you work, the worse things get. You end up driving people away from God the more you struggle to get them closer to Him. It’s like these Chinese handcuffs when you were a kid. You can’t manufacture passion for God. They either have it of they don’t. But what then, is the role of a pastor in the Church? It seems that there must be something we can do in order to cultivate passion for God and devotion to His Word.
I think the best way to get people to study the Bible, is to give them the Bible. Preach it on Sunday. Don’t water it down. Give it to them straight. Once you get deep in the Bible, it becomes addictive. A great sermon that exposes direct access to the almighty is the greatest motivator to get people to read their Bible on their own. Now, I’m not talking about the sort of reading the Bible that is solely to get the minimum daily requirement (Read my post on Monday), but I do think that once you get a deeper grasp of Scripture and see all the working parts of theology, you will be driven to go even deeper. They say that the Bible is the best commentary on itself. Well, I think the Bible is the best advertisement for itself.
So, let me present this challenge to you. Read the Bible. It’s addictive and you’ll love it.