If you’re reading this post, you most likely fit into two categories:
- You read the Bible regularly, or at least try, and know that at times you need a “pickmeup.”
- You have yet to really figure out how to make Bible reading a thing you do.
Guess what…God knows it and understands. Yet, I’ll paraphrase Max Lucado, God sees where you are but isn’t content to leave you there. So when it comes to Bible reading, God desires for you to enjoy communing with him through his words to you.
Whether you are flowing along completely satisfied in your approach to Bible reading, or if you try one more devotional plan that leads to “failure” you are done with it, or you’re indifferent about it, indulge me to encourage you to consider asking yourself these three questions the next time you open your Bible.
- Who am I when I approach the Bible?
I’m not suggesting you have to flash your official birth certificate heavenward to remind your Creator that you are his handiwork. He knows you, trust that. But do you know your spiritual identity? What if that’s how you approached the Bible?
Rather than the father of four who wants out, you are God’s son who needs advice, courage, wisdom.
Rather than the wife of Mr. Grumpy Pants, you are God’s daughter who needs empathy, forgiveness, patience.
Rather than the employer who wrestles with growing your business, you are God’s servant who wants direction, guidance, blessing.
When you open the Bible, what might happen if you engaged it with your heavenly identity over your earthly title?
A note to those in category #2: If your answer to who you are is something like Skeptic, Doubter, Curious, First-Timer, or anything that sounds unacceptable to those church-goers, it’s worth repeating. God knows you. He wrote the Bible for you, too.
- What question focuses my reading?
Once you’ve landed on who are you, then it’s time to figure out why you are reading the Bible. If your answer is because I’m supposed to, let’s go ahead and admit this-that ain’t cuttin’ it. Legalism leads to exactly where you are.
You have to have a reason with purpose that says, “I know God sees me where I am, and I’m not content staying there either.” With that in mind, word a question that will give your heart and mind direction.
For example, “As a child of God, what is God saying to me?” Or, “As a follower of Jesus, how does this apply to me today?” Or, “As a believer seeking transformation, what steps of growth are possible?” Or, “As a skeptic, what hope do I see in these words?” Or, “As a first-timer, what can I learn about God?” Or, “As a doubter, how does God show himself?”
Once you’ve worded that question, post it somewhere in your eyesight every time you open your Bible. Maybe it’s on a post-it. Maybe it’s at the top of a notepad. Maybe it’s on your computer screen. Write this question in your heart as well as in your vision.
- Which part of the Bible allures me?
Now that you know who you are and what question is guiding your heart and mind, here’s where I believe freedom shows up. Your entry into heaven isn’t based on did you read the entire Bible or any other works orientation. Free yourself from any system that enslaves you. If you feel God guiding you to read from Genesis to Revelation, fantastic. But if you find yourself stuck in the dull drums, give yourself the freedom to sit as long as you want where you are getting the most from it. God isn’t abusive. He may be corrective as a Good Father and Shepherd, but when you know who you are and why you’re reading his word, all his words can fulfill you. Choose to read where God leads you and feast as long as you want.
One last note for those in Category #2: If you don’t know how to answer this question, here’s a suggestion. Go to the New Testament and try one of the first four books. Most people like to start with the Gospel of John.
God promised that when we seek him we will find him. May these questions assist you in finding God.
(This post was prompted by a coaching session. If you have yet to receive the benefits of a coaching relationship in your life, let this be a testament to what’s possible.)