Constants and variables

Discovering God on your own, with the rest of us.

I used to sing this song in Sunday school.

Read your bible, pray everyday, and you’ll grow, grow, grow.

Part of me hates how routine this song is. Yes, it’s true, but it’s boring. I mean, it’s incredibly boring. The melody alone is the literal manifestation of banality. But attempting to exercise my God-given free will and refusing to sing along was a futile endeavour. I had to sing. So I sang.

And I remembered every word.

Read your bible, pray everyday, pray everyday, pray everyday.
Read your bible pray everyday and you’ll grow, grow, grow,
Yes you’ll grow, grow, grow. Yes you’ll grow, grow, grow.
Read your bible pray everyday, and you’ll grow, grow, grow.

There is not one ounce of fat on that song. It’s all true, and it’s a great way to make sure that you’re children not only learn to practice and develop spiritual discipline, but also learn to forgive others for subjecting them to such mundane yet effective torture.

It’s powerful stuff. Reading your bible and praying everyday is the surefire way to plant yourself firmly in the gospel, and nurture your relationship with God. Rest assured, if you follow this simple formula, you will grow, grow, grow.

But we weren’t created to simply absorb information. We’re people, after all, not sponges. We are shaped by our environments, and while we share many commonalities, each of us is unique. So why shouldn’t the expressions of our faith also reflect our diversity?

Personally, I worship primarily through song, as well as the written and spoken word. My poetry is a prayer of sorts. When I write, I’m able to process and express what I absorb. It’s as much for me as it is for anyone else, if not more so. When I sing, I find the joy within. I’m also able to bring my problems before God, and work out my sadness and struggles in an environment that ultimately serves to bring glory to God, regardless of my circumstances.

You’ll find all of this in the bible. Read the book of Psalms. However, how we worship individually is maybe not something we explore or emphasize as much as we should. This isn’t a corporate church issue so much as it is a personal issue.

It’s one thing to say “I find God in nature”, or “I worship God through dance”. Neither of these are incorrect or illegitimate ways of connecting with a beautiful, creative God. However, these are empty hypotheticals unless we intentionally explore those declarations in our private lives. This isn’t an accusation, it’s a reminder to stay vigilant in your devotional life. Because the more you delve into and traverse the spiritual and emotional landscape of your faith, the better equipped you are to bring the wisdom and insight gathered from your private discoveries to the body of Christ as a whole. We all benefit.

Is this making sense? I’m not suggesting that reading and praying are somehow not enough, or second tier, generic expressions of love and commitment. I’m not trying reinvent the wheel here. What I am saying is that traditional devotions are the vehicle. I’m simply proposing that you consider customizing your ride.

It took me years to figure this out. But you put in the legwork, and the results are worthwhile. Even Paul, arguably the most influential apostle and writer for the early church tells us in Philippians 2:12 to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

Now, maybe I’m proof-texting here. But maybe it’s worth considering that your salvation should involve every part of your life. Your ideas, your emotions, and your language flow from your heart, mind and soul, the very things affected most by your experience of salvation.

Although, maybe it’s just 4am. Maybe I’m just dead tired and totally off-base.

But maybe there’s something here worth discovering for yourself.

After all, why wouldn’t a creative God want us to encounter, and worship Him creatively?

Like what you read? Give Joshua Spence a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.