I was struck this week by how often I read the Bible through me-colored glasses rather than God-colored ones. I noticed in me this persistent tendency to read everything in terms of something for me to do (a principle to apply, an action to take, a promise to claim, etc.).
The passage I was reading when this epiphany hit me is one that is familiar to many: Matthew 6:24-34 ("Don't worry, seek first the Kingdom," etc.). As I was reflecting on Jesus' words it dawned on me that in reading this passage in terms of something for me to do I was almost entirely missing what Jesus was saying. His purpose in this passage (and in much of the Sermon on the Mount) is to reveal the Father. The things He tells His hearers to "do" are in response to the revelation of how amazing, loving and caring Father God is!
Perhaps I can illustrate this by looking at a few verses from Matthew 6. Look at verses 1-4 where Jesus tells His hearers to be careful about doing "acts of righteousness" in a way that avoids drawing attention to oneself. But how many of us get stuck on the behavior here instead of the reason behind it: We have a gracious and generous Father who will reward us far better than any human could ever do.
And Jesus continues this "Father focus" in the rest of His teaching here. In teaching about prayer and fasting (verses 5-18), He reveals a Father who rewards us, who knows (and cares deeply about) our needs before we even ask Him, whose Kingdom and will are infinitely important, who will grant us daily provision and lead us away from temptation, who is unseen but rewards us openly, etc.
Jesus continues His Father focus throughout the rest of chapter 6. We have a Father who offers eternal, imperishable treasure that He reserves in Heaven, who is willing to care for our physical needs in generous ways so that we can be free from worry, and who adds all that we need to our lives as we choose to make Him and His righteous Kingdom our focus.
I trust you get my point here. What would it be like to read familiar passages of Scripture with God-colored glasses on? My sense is that the stunningly powerful vision of our loving Father would make the actions described in the passage a grateful and natural response rather than a list of to dos. But more than that, it will pull us into such deepening intimacy with Father that we finally grasp that it's all about relationship.
Just thinking. Why don't you join me in trying this out? I, for one, am choosing to take off my me-focused glasses now and asking Papa to capture my heart with increasing revelation of who He is.
Lost in His love and glad of it,
Tom, one of His little children