I love coffee. Like… really love. We’re talking borderline coffee snob, here.
If you ever visit my apartment, this fact will go without saying. You’d probably notice the constant collections of mugs in the kitchen sink and shelves full of brewing equipment. The electric pot, the kettle, the Aeropress, the French press, the Chemex, the filters, the burr grinder, the beans…what a sight to behold: the accumulation of a hobby over the years.
Coffee has become more than a morning pick me up, it’s more of a hobby. A way to connect with people, even. A huge part of my last job revolved around building trust and relationships with teenage girls. Coffee (and occasionally tea; I’m not biased) played a large role in that. The job before that literally revolved around coffee, and I got to see firsthand how coffee can actually bring small communities of people together.
Oh coffee, my old friend. We go way back. I love the stuff, yes. But I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to start this new hobby. Like any good love story, this love developed over time.
It all started when…
When I was a kid, my sister and I would often spend time at my grandparents’ house, where my grandma would make us this powdered “cappuccino” flavored drink. My dear, sweet, health conscious mother tried as hard as she possibly could to keep her girls from becoming sugared-out-caffeine-addicted junkies…but that nasty artificially flavored powdered mix was my gateway drug into the wonderful world of coffee. I grew from cheap imitations to cheap (but real) coffee. When I got a job as a barista, I learned what quality coffee tastes like and how to get the most out of each brew. At my second barista job, I learned about beans and roasting, and things like flavor and freshness. I began to find others who loved coffee like I did. We researched and roasted and learned and experimented, and now that I know what’s good, I could never be satisfied with that cheap imitation powder.
But like I said, that knowledge and appreciation didn’t just show up overnight; it was a process. As I learned more, my desire grew. Drinking bad coffee over and over would never make me desire better coffee…drinking good coffee does that.
The same is true for the Bible.
“The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.” – Jen Wilkin
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
It’s no secret that kids learn differently than adults. Simple truths from the Bible outlined through engaging activities, colorful pictures, and exciting stories caught my attention as a six-year-old in ways that may not be as intriguing to me as an adult. As I grow in my faith and learn more, I’m no longer content with just scratching the surface; I need to go deeper. Just like I didn’t wake up one day knowing how to make a killer quad-shot-dry-macchiato, I also didn’t just wake up and understand the book of Deuteronomy. Here’s the thing about learning that often scares us away: it takes effort.
In reality, I’m not going to “drift” closer to God. I’m not going to wake up one day with infinite biblical wisdom. Learning anything requires a degree of discipline, yes; but it never leaves you empty handed. Whatever you invest will be returned.
“For I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.” Psalm 119:47-48
An art critic who has spent a lifetime studying the history and technique of a particular artist will find more fulfillment in admiring their painting than a passerby who casually enjoys the colors of it. Why? Because the art critic has devoted time to the details. They’ve studied and observed and analyzed for themselves, and with increased knowledge comes increased investment and joy.
With increased knowledge comes increased investment and joy.
Black coffee is a bit of an acquired taste, right? So is theology.
I’ve loved Jesus for a lot of years, but I only really began to fall in love with His Word a few years ago as a Bible Institute student. This wasn’t because I had never heard the Bible taught before, but because in those years I invested time, energy, and even money into deepening my knowledge of it. I found myself not only reading the Bible for academic purposes but because I genuinely wanted to fill my time with it. That knowledge overflowed quickly from my mind all the way to my heart. When the mind is engaged, the heart will follow.
What about those times when you’re not really feelin’ it?
It’s easy to think that when our hearts grow bored or apathetic to God’s Word, we need an emotional experience to snap us back. We might search for this in a worship album, a church event, or a really powerful sermon. These are all great things- but deep, lasting love for God’s Word grows most when we pursue Him, not just the feelings we get from Him.
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:25
Living out the truths that we believe should not feel like an added chore to check off on my hypothetical Christian to do list, just like making coffee each morning is not a chore to me. I look forward to that first (and second and third) cup. It simply becomes a part of my daily routine.
Living consistently and joyfully in the truth of God’s Word will be the natural outcome of a heart that has learned to love it as the Author intended. In order for this way of living to be genuine, it has to follow the learning and the loving. After all, we can’t represent someone we don’t know. We won’t reflect the character of someone we’ve never spent time with.
Living consistently and joyfully in the truth of God’s Word will be the natural outcome of a heart that has learned to love it as the Author intended.
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7
If you have a desire to grow deeper in your knowledge of God’s Word, consider spending a year at the Word of Life Bible Institute. Click here for more information or to apply today.