Just read it

Just recently I began a personal campaign to have more books in my life. I realized that I was relying on too many other means for entertainment, such as television, internet, social media, etc., and I didn't like the results that I was getting.

I needed a break.

Sensationalism that masquerades as news and character assassinations that present themselves as entertainment are just a waste of my time. So I have made it a point to read more books and spend less time online and watching television. And it's been so awesome to get reacquainted with the classics as well as discovering new books from contemporary authors. We also secured a membership for all of our kids at the local library so that we walk there every couple of weeks to get some new books to read.

When I was a kid it seemed so much simpler and easier. You could only watch a few channels on television (that's all we had), the internet was a dream as were personal computers, and social media consisted of people talking about what they read in the newspaper that morning. Yet we didn't feel cut off from the world because of any lack of knowledge or information. In fact, it seemed like we had just enough to make sense of our world.

Fast forward a few decades and it seems like the term "information overload" is a gross understatement. As a college and seminary student, I remember feeling overwhelmed by the massive volumes of information available on various topics that I was to research, and most if not all of those sources were found in the form of books in the library. Too many history or theology books made my head spin but I truly enjoyed digging into them.

Today when you throw into the mix the massive amount of useless and even profane nuggets of information and opinions found everywhere, it's hard to separate fact from fiction. You can receive email and text notifications in real time of any breaking news or comments to your status updates. You can have it all in the palm of your hand and right now, but who really needs all of that?

How do we rescue ourselves from the ever rising tide of stuff that seeks to invade every crevice and corner of our minds? We could list all sorts of things - limit or even eliminate television; internet filtering software; being incredibly selective with which news sources we watch and read, etc. - and that would certainly curb much of the influence. But before we become too quick to approach all of this from what we will give up, why not start with what we will give into?

Psalm 119:9, 11, 105
How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word.
I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.
Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
Do you see what these verses say? We are to treasure God's word because it keeps us from sin and guides our paths. God's word guides us in all areas of life.

Here's my proposal: Spend more time in God's word and see what happens. This isn't a challenge to rid your life completely of television or newspapers or computers but rather to give the Bible the primary place in your life that it should possess. Yes, there are really good and helpful television and radio shows and blogs and articles written by godly men and women that give us wisdom and insight, but they are not a substitute for you and I taking the time to get into God's word on our own. And after that, before you log on or power up, dig into some really good books that will challenge your faith and help you to grow in discipline.

If you don't already have a daily time to get into God's word then make it a priority to begin today. And if you aren't sure how or where to start, there are plenty of great Bible reading plans online that will help get you on the right track (I use this one).

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