Praying and reading the bible - two of the most important aspects of the Christian walk; yet many of us seem to struggle with it. We find it easier to text and eat and do everything else but the two things that are supposed to be habits as natural as eating and breathing.
I have wrestled with this very issue the past year, because as much as I want to make both habits, I feel like I fall short. I pray as I rush out the door and read a chapter in the Bible when it's practically midnight and I'm falling asleep over my next page.
I sought God for an answer, and it was this: My problem was that I felt like the Bible was not super interesting or relevant in my life. And my prayers just didn't seem powerful or like they were accomplishing anything.
I wanted that to change though. I know that if I want to live an empowered Christian life that is not one-dimensional and shallow but deep enough so that I can impact others, I need to be grounded in the Word and Prayer, because nothing I can do out of my own effort in my walk of faith will ever achieve the change that I need it to if I am not empowered by the very words of God and His Spirit.
As I asked God to reveal to me a way that in which I could fall in love with the Bible, and He showed me this:
The Bible is a double edged sword; it gives you identity.
While the world tells you you'll never make it if you don't meet their qualifications, the Word of God speaks prophecies into your life and tells you who you are as a believer: a Child of God. As the very son or daughter of God, you have access into all the promises of God. In the Word, you can find all these promises and speak them over yourself. This will not only empower you, but it will alter the way you view yourself and align your identity to God's view of you. You will read that:
You are loved unconditionally and eternally. You are chosen. You were made with a very specific purpose.
The Bible is not merely a book; it is a Person.
We like to read the Bible like its a book, but in the Bible, John 1 says that "The Word is God." Therefore, the Bible is not merely a complication of textual information - The Word is the person of Jesus.
When you spend time with a person, you enjoy them most when you are actively engaged with them. In the same way, reading the Bible is best when you are actively interacting with it.
Imagine how fun it would be reading your favorite book with the author right next to you. You could ask the author, "Why did you write this? What is up with this character?" You would not only understand the book better but you would understand the person who wrote it. That book would then have the power to change your life- forever engrained in your memory and who you are.
Well, the author of the Bible is alive and fully present when you read His Word. So choose to interact with the Bible. Don't just pick out the things that you want to see and then close the Book shut when you don't find anything you want or you don't find any of it making sense to you. Talk to God about it, think about it, and hear His voice behind the words. He will speak to you.
The Bible is specifically tailored for you.
Everyone knows that every great author doesn't just throw together a bunch of random facts and names and story lines - a great author has a unique gift of making every detail meaningful and weaving in his or her own unique themes, lessons, and perspectives. The Bible is the same way - except it's so unique in that it has the power to teach you lessons specific to your life and your circumstances. But you got to look for them. God reveals Himself but He chooses to hide special aspects of Himself away because there is something deeply special about you seeking out His mysteries. God wants to be FOUND by you. When you find treasures in His word, you will savor and appreciate them even more.
The Bible is so much richer than you think it is.
Maybe you think you've heard every story and every lesson there is to know in the Bible. And maybe you have, but the Bible is living and is so so rich. You know, a couple of days ago, I was completing an Escape Room game with some friends and we found a box of cash in a small cell. However, we realized that we didn't find enough money yet in order to be released, and when someone suggested that we go back to the same cell to search for cash, we all disagreed and said that there couldn't possibly be anymore cash in there to be found. But it was our last resort, and it turned out there was more cash hidden away!
So the point is this: LOOK AGAIN. Maybe you've already read that chapter 20 times. Read it again. Just like how the spectrum of a rainbow changes and reflects different colored lights in various angles, so the Word of God will reflect a different beautiful truth each time you look at it in a different time or place.
The Bible is largely misunderstood.
Perhaps you aren't interested in reading a book that seems controlling, scary, or mean. But I'm here to tell you that my life has been transformed by the Word. It sets loving boundaries for your life because it doesn't want you to live an unhappy life that's out of control. It's only scary because you haven't read it all and you haven't seen how God OVERCOMES and defeats every giant for you. It only seems mean because you've taken the words out of context. God is love and He uses the Word to correct you, encourage you, exhort you, and affirm you for who you really are.
The Bible is a lifestyle.
Some of us only want to read the Bible for 10 minutes in the morning and that's all. However, in doing that, we are not giving the Bible a chance to speak long enough into our lives and prove to us that what it's saying is really true. Don't just read the Word and go about your day as usual. Put what it says into practice. This is the most exciting part about the reading part! If you take anything from the Bible and act it out, I guarantee you that you will see its outcome just the way God said you would.
Next week, I will be continuing this article on the Power of Prayer.