At titus2talk we spend a lot of time encouraging you to read good Christian books and look at Christian websites. Don't get me wrong, these are extremely worthwhile activities and are certainly a far better use of your time than reading the latest celebrity gossip or watching pointless reality TV shows.
But when are these things not so good? Nicki and I were talking about this recently during one of our "putting the world to rights" sessions while walking back from our church toddler group. We both recognise a tendency in ourselves to read Christian books or blogs more readily than we study Scripture itself. We may know that there is no substitute for reading and meditating on the Bible, but often laziness wins the day, as we prefer someone else to do the hard work for us.
Can I encourage you, as I challenge myself, not to pick up a Christian book or surf the web on any day until you have spent time reading the Bible for yourself. In one of my favourite books (besides the Bible!) A Quest for Godliness, J.I. Packer talks about the Puritans' approach to reading Scripture:
"The Puritans often echo Augustine's remark that, just as there are shallows in Scripture where a lamb may wade, so there are depths in Scripture where an elephant may swim - depths which the most learned and godly have yet to plumb. All Christians, therefore, should approach their study of Scripture knowing that they know but little, longing to learn more and looking to God himself to open to them his own word."
It is easy to make excuses in each of the various seasons of life to explain why we spend so little time studying the Bible for ourselves. But if we want to become "elephants" instead of "lambs" we need to spend time prayfully meditating on Scripture. The washing-up can wait for a little while longer...