The Power of Scripture Engagement
The Difference Between Reading God's Word & Hearing His Voice
Reading my bible is an emotional and powerful experience. It hasn’t always been that way.
When I became a Christian at nineteen years old, I made the mistake that a lot of people make: I opened my bible at the beginning, expecting to read it like a novel from start to finish. This continued okay for a while, but eventually, I got bored (you know exactly what I mean.) I tried to push through, but I got overwhelmed by trying to keep up with my over-committed plan. I wanted to be disciplined, but I just felt defeated. And I didn’t know why I should keep going.
All my half-hearted attempts at reading the bible amounted to a lot of guilt and feeling like I wasn’t a good Christian. I kept thinking, “Why am I struggling so much even though I love God?”
When I learned to read the bible in a different way—in a way that made scripture come alive as a conversation with God, everything changed. Now, when I read scripture, I soak in the sound of a familiar voice—the voice I open my bible and my heart for almost every day.
The Problem with Self-Help
I still remember the feeling of God's voice penetrating deep into my heart the day I became a Christian. It was a wonderful feeling that I held on to tightly for several years after that day. I grasped those words tightly in my fists, afraid that it was a once in a lifetime moment that I would not get again. My fists held closely to my heart, I hoped that I wouldn't forget the sound of His voice. Today, my arms are stretched out in front of me, hands loose (except for a gentle grasping of my pen), and bible laid out on my lap as I soak in the sound of that familiar voice--the voice I open my bible and my heart for almost every day.
3 Keys to Resisting Temptation
My goal this year has been to read more books. Whether it's paperback, ebook, or audiobook, I want to be filling my mind with more wisdom and knowledge than I have in previous years. I want to grow as a Christian, as a business owner, as a wife, as a mother, and as a writer. I cannot expect to grow if I am not feeding my mind with the wisdom and knowledge of those who have more knowledge and experience than I do. But in my quest for knowledge, my first priority is (or should be) my daily bible reading. If I find myself spending my time reading self-help books, even Christian ones, but don't read my bible--there's a problem.
If you're an avid reader, but struggle to read your bible regularly (or consciously choose not to), let me share with you the two main issues I see...
How to Read Your Bible the Right Way
As Christians, it's not a matter of if we'll be tempted but when we'll be tempted. To sin is a choice we make, but we can't always choose whether or not we'll be tempted. There are safeguards we can put in place to help minimize our proximity to temptations, but ultimately, they will always be there. Even Jesus was tempted (Matthew 4). We are given the opportunity to choose our thoughts and our actions, therefore the decision to sin ultimately rests on our strength in resisting the inevitable temptations around us.
While it may seem discouraging to know that temptation will always be around us, it's incredibly empowering when we come to realize that we're not helpless victims destined to fall. There are choices we can make now that can help us endure future temptation.
I know how it sounds. "How to read your bible the right way" seems kind of... arrogant... and maybe even blasphemous. Can there really be a wrong way to read your bible? Isn't that pretty limiting to God and the power of His Word? I agree with you. I don't think there's a wrong way to read your bible. "The word of God is alive and active," right?