By Will Dole
Acts 2:42, Part 1
In last month’s article I used the analogy of addiction to illustrate our relationship with God. In doing so I drew three comparisons between the two. Namely, that our relationship with God appears foolish to the world, it takes some time to acquire, and once we are addicted we will want more.
Intellectually, the idea works. But what good does this idea do us as we walk through our day in an attempt to press on toward the goal Christ has for us? Well really, if we stop with these three points, there is little benefit. To know I ought to be addicted to God does me no good unless I know how to become addicted to God. While there is no magic formula, over the course of the next few months I will attempt to share a few fundamental things, which we nonetheless often overlook in our lives.
To become addicted to God requires more than simply attempting to make God our number one priority. This is jargon that we throw around often, especially in church circles—I know I have used this phrase many times, and perhaps you have, too. One of the mains texts used in connection with this idea is Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The idea most people draw from this verse is something to the effect of, “If God is my number one priority, then He is going to give me the other things that I’m chasing as well.” Really?
In the preceding verses, Jesus is instructing us to worry about nothing, not even the food we will eat or the clothes we will wear. Jesus is not placing the kingdom of God at the top of a list of priorities—the Pharisees were doing that already. No, He is saying that our singular pursuit ought to be God. He says we should lay aside what the pagans are worrying about (verse 32) and pursue Him instead. When we do so, He will take care of our other needs. So, Jesus should not be a priority in our lives, but rather our driving passion.
This will exemplify itself in many ways, but let’s focus on the first of four examples from Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The first thing we read is that we are to devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching. Who were the apostles and what were they teaching? Not to oversimplify it, but the apostles are the guys who wrote the New Testament and they taught the words and deeds of Jesus. They also taught the Old Testament, and how it testified of Jesus. What can we draw from this? Simple: studying the Bible is important.
Of course, we know this, but how often do we actually read it? And when we do read it, how much do we really learn? This is one of the ways we can discern whether God is a priority or a passion for us. If our relationship with Him is only a priority, reading the Bible is something on our checklist of things to do, and we are often inclined to either push it down the list, or hurry and get that pesky Bible reading out of the way. Perhaps we find a way to push it completely off the list.
Conversely, if we are reading with the intent and the mindset of seeking His kingdom, knowing what Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all Scripture is God-breathed, then we will look at it, not as something that must be done to fulfill our list of so-called Christian duties, but as an opportunity to grow closer to our loving Creator. It should not a burden, but an incredible opportunity.
If my desire is to become addicted to Him, then I need to feed my addiction. We should feast regularly on God’s word—not just in small bits and pieces reading quickly to get it done, but taking big bites and thoroughly savoring them. Chew on the details and digest the nuances. There is so much to be enjoyed. God has written to us a revelation of Himself. What a better place to start in our pursuit of Him than in devotion to His word? Let’s take action on this, and in the following issues we’ll examine the three other things found in Acts 2:42: fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer.