The following are excerpts from a book by Gabe Lyons called The Next Christians in which he describes the up and coming generation of Christians who are partnering with Christ in His plan to restore the world by engaging culture. This particular chapter, “Grounded, Not Distracted”, discusses how easy it is for the Christian to become distracted and fall when attempting to fulfill his calling by engaging the culture for Christ if he does not stay grounded in the Restorer God Himself. These portions of the chapter come from the section where Lyons describes the importance of the Christian being immersed in the Word of God. Please take the time to read it!
“The average American spends almost three hours a day watching television. That’s almost an entire day, every single week, in front of the tube. Play that out over an entire life span, and it accumulates to almost ten years…. [Entertainment is not] inherently evil, but the collective impact of [its] overwhelming presence in our lives has the ability to reshape our thinking and skew our perspective. Entertainment easily distracts us from our brokenness, diverting us from the deeper meaning of life by placating our senses as our lives slowly slip away.
“The next Christians’ answer to this dilemma isn’t simply to turn off the TV (though it’s a good start). Rather, they’ve adopted a practice that counters the escape and buries them deep in real meaning, truth, and purpose. They have rediscovered Scripture and immerse themselves in it in a way that differs from the practice of recent generations.
“To restorer-minded Christians, Scripture wasn’t meant to be a science book, history text, or ethics manual…. They aren’t determined to find verses to support their opinions or point of view. Instead, they enjoy Scripture as they believe it was meant to be: a grand narrative that tells a story of a God who loves and pursues, rescues, gives grace, and goes to any length to restore relationships with his most prized creations….
“For millennia, Roman Catholic Christians were not encouraged to read Scripture…. It was just the opposite for many Protestants: Bible reading was seen as a daily duty, a task to be checked off before heading off to work or play. Once the Scripture was available to laity, reading the Bible became an honor and pleasure. Similarly, the next Christians enjoy reading the Bible as much as curling up with a great novel. It invokes their imagination and instills confidence in a God who isn’t just a part of history but is showing up through them in their world today.
“It gives them focus, but with a much bigger picture in mind…. They open themselves to learning and communing with the Creator….
“Understanding Scripture is difficult. Passively watching television or quickly clicking through Internet links and Facebook updates is much easier. Engaging with our sacred texts takes time. And these Christians are making the time for it.”
For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)