Last year a friend asked me what Bible commentaries I read. I told him I didn’t read any. I just read the Bible every day. I think that commentaries can become a filter for your relationship with God, and I want to know God personally. And that’s exactly the kind of answer I would give because I have been in the faith long enough to know that we are all wrong about something, and at my age I feel like I am wasting time with things that I don’t trust completely.
This year my wife ordered a Bible study called “The Forgotten Way,” by Ted Dekker. She said she wanted us to go through it together. I had never heard of Ted Dekker, so I didn’t know he was a popular Christian author of fantasy novels and thrillers. We read the book together, going through all the meditations, and we were both very excited about it. We have decided to read it together again.
The Forgotten Way is not the rediscovery of some secret knowledge or the discovery of new texts unearthed at an archeological dig. It is a deeper contemplation of the simple things in the Bible; the things most of us have forgotten as we get caught up in the things of this world and its temporal cares.
Cindi and I have been believers since 1981. This study has actually refreshed our memory of the excitement of the new birth we experienced, and the power of the Holy Spirit that made our life an adventure in those days. Back then we experienced God’s presence, saw miraculous answers to prayer, and brought this power into the lives of other people. So what happened? What happens to so many Christians: we got caught up in the cares of this life and started living by what we see with our eyes.
The Bible tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1). This is because the eternal things are not visible with the naked eye. And the things we can see with the naked eye are temporary, and will pass away. But being visible is a big advantage in this world. It’s what makes things tempting. Since the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes…,” Eve was lured to commit the first act of disobedience. This why the Bible does not say, “faith comes by seeing…” It comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). It’s the world that says, “Seeing is believing.”
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus sends messages to seven churches. To the church at Ephesus he tells them He has seen their good works and their faithfulness and their patience, and their zeal for the truth, but that He has one thing against them: they have left their first love. It is interesting that he commends them for things that can be seen, but finds them wanting in something less visible: their first love. Then He tells them to repent and do the first works. What are those first works? He does not identify them. He wants your love, not your works. And if you love Him, you will know what they are.
So, as we read The Forgotten Way, we are relearning what it means to be loved by God and to love Him back. He has made us to be one with Him, not someday, but now in the present. This is something we once knew instinctively, even as babes in Christ. As we grew in knowledge, we forgot our first love. We became puffed up. We need to revisit our first love, examine the love of God that drew us, and rediscover His joy in us.
Stay tuned for more on this subject! Soon!