But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken! (Jeremiah 9:24 NLT)
How often do you read the bible? How often do you read teaching books about faith, Christianity, and digging deeper into your faith? Lately, the Lord has been convicting me about digging deeper into faith. He is pressing on my heart to learn more, read more, make research habits, and become more than just another bible study girl.
Last week Ashley shared lessons she learned in how to get and keep wisdom. I highly recommend you read that post with a note and pen in hand. For that reason I want to emphasize the importance of personal bible study. Wait, take out the words bible study, replace with God study. I want to emphasize the importance of personal God study. You know as a kid, how teachers always expressed how reading is paramount? There was a national reading campaign when I was in middle school. The purpose was to encourage parents to promote reading at home for fun. This campaign has changed throughout the years and all schools promote a reading curriculum as young as PreK, ages 3 and 4. In fact, baby blogs and experts promote reading from the moment the baby has a heart beat in the womb. They say to continue reading to your belly after birth into infancy. That is how important reading is to life. They want you to read to pregnant bellies because it supports a healthy reading habit into childhood and beyond.
I collect books and coffee mugs. I have tons of books. I haven’t read half of them. I know it’s sad. I’m getting to them, ok? But I love that I have more books than I know what to do with. What good are those books if I don’t read them? Will I ever obtain knowledge from them if I don’t read them? Will I ever enjoy them if I don’t experience the feelings and emotions those books give, if I don’t read them myself? What good is owning a bible if you don’t read it? We aren’t able to gain biblical knowledge by just thumbing through it from time to time. You open it only on Sunday’s for church and bible study group. Is your faith going to grow from church sermons alone? Are you going to know God intimately from someone else’s account of scriptures? In my opinion, no. We can gain wisdom from sermons. Things can be made clear from teachers and preachers. But to know God, like truly know Him, is to spend intentional time with Him. To love Jesus is to know Jesus. The bible says:
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3 NKJV)
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23 NIV)
How can we obey Him if we don’t know first hand what He said? How can we obey commandments we don’t know? We cannot. They will not stay written on our heart or on our mind if we don’t read and study. Bible study groups are amazing and very vital to the community of Christ. We need study groups for accountability in our walk with Christ. But we need personal alone study time with God for intimacy. Your marriage needs intimacy, and so does your relationship with Christ. A group leader said to me once, “intimacy” is really “into me you see”. Ever since hearing that, it makes sense why intimacy is important. It is the only way to see into the person. It is the only way to see into Christ and have a meaningful, growing relationship with Him. Reading the bible helps us obtain this intimacy. We will experience the feelings and emotions of the words of Christ and His followers. We will learn lessons, first hand, from the days of the Old Testament. No one can give you your own reaction to a story. No one can learn a lesson for you. No one can make you appreciate Christ more, after reading how things were in the Old Testament days. Only you can live your life. Only you can experience Christ for yourself. Reading is fundamental. It is vital that we open the bible, study, google, and research things for ourselves. By doing these things we will be seeing into Christ and getting that intimacy with Him.
So now what? Well I’ll tell you. I recommend we do the below, daily. I will be doing it as well.
1) Get up early. If you get up early now, get up earlier!
- Pray, read a devotion, and then read a chapter of the bible every morning.
- The Bible app has great short devotions. As far as reading the bible, start at the beginning, and start reading a chapter a day.
- Take notes, google, and record your thoughts or what you learned. Write in your bible. All these things build healthy research habits.
2) Before Bed, Read, Worship, Pray.
- Read a chapter of a teaching book, listen to one worship song with your eyes closed hearing each word of the song, and then pray thanking God for the day.
- End your day with a chapter of a teaching book and praise & worship.
3) Fast & Worship.
- The Lord has been convicting me on fasting lately. I did a devotion by James MacDonald called “Authentic Fasting.” Wow! Ok, wow! Fasting is deep prayer & worship with our Abba Father.
- Pray about fasting. I plan on building up my spiritual muscle and fasting more often. Go to the concordance in your bible, google and research fasting.
- The bible talks a lot on this topic (read Isaiah 58- the whole chapter is about fasting).
The numbers 1 & 2 above are ways to make reading a healthy habit of every day. Number 3, is something I feel God will reveal to you. He will tell you when He wants you to make fasting a part of your active faith with Him. I’m at that step in my faith and to ignore His voice, is to disobey. I’m not really trying to do that, ok!?! LOL.
Have a blessed week ladies! Let me know what your healthy reading and study habits are in the comments. Praying for you all to continue to be blessed and for your relationship with Christ to go deeper and more intentional.