For whatever reason, I am a ‘prove it’ person. It doesn’t matter how small or simple the idea, I refuse to accept someone’s opinion or fact the first time I hear it, especially if they can’t present a well-informed defense. The irony is that I can’t come up with a well thought out argument to defend any of my beliefs or facts. My husband often laughs, because my response is the same as our 11-year-old niece when asked why I believe something. I just stop talking. It doesn’t matter what they have to say. I just agree to disagree.
The problem is when I approached reading the Bible this way. I would hear stories about how the Bible had changed someone’s perspective or helped them have an epiphany about life. I would read the Bible, maybe even the same verse, and nothing would happen. I was not any more convinced than before I read. I was still confused and frustrated, because this ancient book hadn’t brought life into my world. It hadn’t lived up to the hype that everyone claimed. Then, out of frustration, and possibly to prove my own point, I wouldn’t pick up the Bible for another month or two.
This inconsistent use of the Bible to fit my needs when I wanted was obviously not an effective strategy for enlightenment or building my relationship with God. I had to do two things in order to change this pattern. I had to choose, in faith, to discipline myself, not because I knew what the outcome would be, just because I knew that what God had on the other side was better than what I had (Hebrews 11:1). I had to make a commitment to read every day, not when I was in a desperate mess that I’d created, not when circumstances seemed to overwhelm me, not to prove a point, but just to have the discipline to read. Secondly, I had to trust.
Commitment with a Plan (2 Timothy 2:15)
The Bible can be an overwhelming book with its over 2,000 pages in some editions. There are sections that can be boring, some sections are dark and heavy, and other parts are just confusing. Where was I supposed to start? What did I need to know the most? What was the most important thing I needed to know? Is it okay to read it out of order? Just like any big task in life, I had to just sit down and decide what my goal was and then break that goal down into manageable pieces that I thought I could commit to daily, and then I had to make an allotted time in my day for reading. I didn’t have to know all things or have all the answers. I just had to be faithful to my commitment. Like many new habits, the first week was pretty good, but then I started to waver. This is when I would go back to my original plan and remind myself of my commitment.
Trust God (Proverbs 3:5)
The second, and harder, thing I had to do was trust. I had to trust that every word printed in the Bible was truth (Matthew 24:35) and had relevance to my life today. I had to stop trying to find the faults and inconsistencies and start trying to make sense of them when they occurred. I may not, and probably won’t, have a revelation every day, but if I just trusted that each word had purpose, then I could begin to open my heart and mind to let the truth enter into me so that it can begin to work something new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Like any relationship, we’ll get out of it what we put into it. We know that Christ is committed to us (1 John 4:19), but are we committed to Him?
For me, this has been one of the most transformative acts I’ve done to commit myself to Christ, the man, the older brother (Romans 8:29). There were many steps before this that were necessary, but reading my Bible daily has allowed me to know God’s person and to reveal His character. I had experienced various pieces of the Bible, but by going straight to the source daily, I began to anticipate what He would do next, how He would react and maybe, just maybe, start to understand some of the why.
Just like earthly relationships, it is said that you think you know someone until you live with them. You’ve seen them in various situations, and you know what it is like to have experiences with them. But until you commit to an intimate and vulnerable shared life and trust them, you can’t start to understand and know their person, their motivations, and their ‘why’ in life. In this type of committed relationship, you can also give part of yourself so that a bond develops based on interaction, growth, and maturity. The difference with God is that He will never fail, and He will never lie.
There are definitely parts of the Bible that still confuse me, but that has just added to the intrigue and given me motivation to keep reading. If I trust Him, I know that when I need to understand the confusing parts, I will. If I don’t ever understand it, then I don’t need it. I don’t have to spend my energy making the Bible truthful. It already is.
There are times that life will still be confusing and overwhelming. In these moments, I don’t forget my commitment. I continue to read, and I cling to the foundations and truths that I know to be true and wait (Psalm 37:7) until I come up for breath again with new enlightenment. I don’t have to fight and struggle. I just know that I live in a broken and sinful world (Romans 5:12), and life will feel like this from time to time. Hold on. It gets better (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
My Truths – Loving Father
If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you probably have a few scriptures that you hang onto all the time to encourage you, lift you up, or remind you of God’s greatness. If so, awesome. Hang on to those. They will be your anchor when nothing else in life makes sense. If you are young or a new Christian, you may not have developed these truths. If not, use mine until you find the ones that ground you.
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” – 1 John 4:8
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
I know that God is love, and He wants to take care of me. He wants to love me and comfort me. The world is inconsistent and confusing, but He’s always the same loving father.
If you need help creating a plan or figuring out where to start reading the Bible, let us know. We’d be happy to walk you through the process.
— Written by Kati
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