Something strange happened to me while I was reading my Bible on the bus yesterday.
I started looking at people's faces as they were getting on; wondering who they were and what they were like. I actually felt fond of them- strangers on public transport that I would usually ignore or tolerate. There were some old ladies, teenage lads, a girl with bright red lipstick and another lady with a baby. As I read about the early church in Acts and then looked at these people, it's like I made a connection between Jesus' love for people in the Bible and his right-now love for some travellers on a bus in Swindon. Because it's exactly the same. This is something I knew in my head before very well, but now I know it in my heart. And that's completely different.
God cares about these people. He loves these people. He wants these people to be saved. Just like us- we're nothing special. God didn't choose us because we are somehow better than non-Christians. What a joke! God rescued us while we were still dead in our sins, not because we were good or nice.
Have you ever spoken to someone and it's obvious that they are not really interested or have something else on their mind or don't really like you? It's happened to me a lot. Sorry if you thought that you were getting away with it, but you're not. I guess in the same way, if we go out telling people about the gospel or doing good deeds out of a sense of duty or wanting to look good then people are going to know. They are going to see that there's something false about the whole thing. And if you can't love them or even like them, then why would God?
Our job as Christians is to reflect God's love to others; not to tell them about their sins or how much better we are than them. If you are judging then you are not loving. You won't be fruitful for God's kingdom if you are constantly looking to yourself. You need to look to God.
And that's why I think reading the Bible more and in public is helping me to love people more, because it means that I am looking to God first. After all, loving each other is the second commandment, so it's quite important.
You know the feeling when you smell freshly washed clothes that have been out in the sun all day?
Or when you jump into an outdoor pool or lake?
That's the feeling that I get when I read my Bible. Clean, pure, good.
When I travel to London, it's fun and exciting and different. But I can feel a layer of grime on my skin from being there. When I leave and get back to Swindon, I look at the trees and the sky and the familiar roads and I think "I'm home." It's such a good feeling to be out of the concrete and noise and pollution.
I think the world adds a thin layer of grime to our minds. Newspapers and websites and TV and games are all fun, but consume too much and you start to feel cynical, pessimistic and weary. Reading the Bible is an antidote to that because it's full of truth and light and love. We need to constantly remind ourselves of God's goodness because we have short memories.
Don't let the world wear you down. Read your Bible.