January 19, 2017
A comfortable chair, a scenic backdrop—and an all-absorbing book. That’s what Diana and I call ultimate relaxation.
What do you enjoy reading?
Reading is a hobby my wife and I share with gusto. She reads a wide range of devotional books, historical fiction, cookbooks, and a lot about the British monarchy (she could probably earn a haul on Jeopardy). I read biographies, westerns, action novels (think Clive Cussler), mysteries (John Grisham, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle) plus Christian writers like Tim Keller, Kyle Idleman, Charles Spurgeon, and J.C. Ryle.
A grid for reading choices
Right now, I'm reading a book by puritan Richard Baxter. I’m learning that any title by this guy is a book worth devouring. I was struck by a grid he created for choosing—or rejecting—books we allow on to our shelves. Allow me to quote him verbatim. Baxter advises:
Make careful choices of the books which you read. Let the Holy Scriptures ever have preeminence. While reading, ask yourself:
1. Could I spend this time no better?
2. Are there better books that would edify me more?
3. Are the lovers of such books as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life?
4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?
Appetite for readiness
Now by these standards, I’m afraid some of my reading choices would come up short. What about you?
Really, it all comes down to an appetite for readiness. Are we hungry for the Lord’s return? Do we desire Him enough to ready ourselves for Him? I’m reminded of a sobering perspective from 1 Peter 4:7:
The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
Here’s to good reading—all year long. Quality books whose pages turn us toward Christlikeness, not mere entertainment.