In 2019, there were some notable Christian leaders who came out with the revelation that they just didn’t believe anymore. There has also been a surge of people who identify as christian but whose beliefs are increasingly divergent from their doctrinal pedigree.
It seems to me that those of our number who are drifting away from the Faith, or who are redefining our faith in more palatable terms, are not simply reevaluating the facts and changing our minds. We are adopting new (and unfounded) paradigms. We buy into the various voices within our culture (be they political, scientific, social, or religious) that sound good and feel right, ideas that constantly fill our minds, unfiltered, unevaluated, every day, through every sort of media engagement and social interaction. We willingly submit ourselves to the programing of our minds by the world’s ever-evolving standards. And when the quiet conversion is complete we find ourselves feeling distant from God, empty, and the biblical truths and standards we once held sacred seem foreign to us, outmoded, even dangerous to our newly adopted values. Little by little, through a million unguarded moments, we trade truth for lies, reality for fantasy.
I especially see it in the news media. Regardless of where pundits are on the political spectrum, they like to argue that Jesus would be on their side, that their point of view is more in step with His teachings, and that their opponents actually hold anti-Christian views. They either highlight the bits of the Bible they agree with or downplay the parts they despise. Rarely do they let it shed light on their own position. For some of these people, not only have the eternal truths of God’s Word become subservient to their own fashionable values, but its sacred passages have become nothing more than politically expedient. And we all, myself included, tune in to news casts and podcasts for regular doses of such punditry, while we neglect to dwell on anything truly praiseworthy.
It’s not that we would intentionally set out to wander from the Lord, or betray our Savior. But when what we hear from the world is louder and more frequent than the voice of the Lord, we start to believe the other voices, which become the de facto authority in our lives. And before we know it, we’re looking at God, His Word, and His people through the lens of our newly-adopted worldly mindset and not the other way around. We end up either reinterpreting our christianity to suit our own sensibilities, walking away from God, or realizing we need to repent.
I say this to myself and any who need to hear: now is the time to renew our minds in the truth! It is vitally important for those of us who claim Jesus as our King to follow Him on His terms. We need to be intimately familiar with the Gospels that faithfully bear witness to Jesus and His teachings. As we submit to being His disciples, we can know Him who is the Truth that sets us free and be the light of the world He calls us to be.
To this end, I humbly submit this reading schedule, A Year of Good News, for the coming year:
Starting January 2, read a chapter a day through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, take two days off, and repeat. By the end of the year, you will have read the Gospels four times.
As a supplemental reading suggestion:
Read a chapter a day through Hebrews and Jude, twice, each time you read through Matthew.
Read a chapter a day through 1 Peter and 2 Peter, twice, each time you read through Mark.
Read a chapter a day through Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, and 2 Timothy, once, each time you read through Luke.
Read a chapter a day through 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John, three times, as you read through John the first and third time. Read a chapter a day through Revelation as you read through John the second and fourth time.