2020 has given us plenty of challenges: the pandemic, quarantine and isolation, church closures and re-openings, racial tensions, riots, debates over masks and pretty much everything else tied to COVID-19, politics in an election year, and questions about government intrusion on the Church. Mix in that trying to figure out what families should do for school, and how that affects our jobs and income, as well as churches scrambling to do their best to gather together and care for those struggling with all that’s going on, and there’s plenty to leave us discouraged.
One temptation is to immerse ourself in the news–on TV, online, or through social-media–to stay up to speed and feel informed. The intense debates only fuel this as so many people read articles to defend their cause. It’s no wonder people feel stressed, anxious, and angry. To make matters worse, some statistics indicate Christians are spending even less time in the Bible than they did before the pandemic. We’re filling our minds with bad news and stressful news, meanwhile we’re neglecting to fill our minds and hearts with The Good News.
My point here isn’t that you need to stop reading or watching the news altogether. It’s good to stay informed. My encouragement is to scale back your intake of all the bad news, stressful news, and personal opinions out there, and instead, take some of that time over the month of August to immerse yourself in the good news of who Jesus is and what he has done.
One way to do that is through a month-long reading plan in the book of Luke. It’s essentially a chapter a day in Luke, and I picked a Gospel so we would spend the whole month reading about and reflecting on who Jesus is, what he’s done, the kind of character or virtue he displays, and what it would look like for us to be rooted in and refreshed by him.
I also suggest a few books that are entirely aimed at holding up the supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus. Maybe this month you could buy one of those and read it alongside of Luke, filling yourself with the fullness of Jesus. Here are a few, with my top recommendation this year being Gentle and Lowly.
- Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund
- Rejoicing in Christ by Michael Reeves
- Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper
- Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus by Jared C. Wilson