I need to confess to you that I’ve been lazy. I’ve known the Lord for nearly ten years, and God speaks to us through reading the Bible and through prayer, both things Christians should do regularly. There have been times when I’ve done this, but largely I’ve been sporadic in my habits, especially for the past few years.
By now, I should know the basic principles of Scripture, but I barely do. Hebrews chapter 5 tells us that we need to learn the basic principles, and then move on to become a more mature Christian. We need to train our “powers of discernment” by constant practice. My confession to you is that I haven’t done this adequately.
Why does this matter?
It matters because I’m writing. It matters because “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
Scripture is how God changes our hearts. We need to learn Scripture intellectually, but we also need to feel Scripture. We need to fear God’s wrath, faint at His love, be saddened by the crucifixion, excited by the resurrection. If we are Christians, then God changes our hearts through the Holy Spirit and with Scripture. And our hearts and minds desperately need changing.
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.”
What’s in your heart? I believe that evil is the absence of good (1 John 3:4–“Sin is lawlessness.”) I had been filling my heart with other things, many of which are good, but many of which are neutral at best. Lately, I’ve been reading the Scriptures more. I’ve always taken breaks from studying, usually to read the news. So lately I’ve been reading less news and more Scripture. I manage to read about ten chapters a day, and this has been a tremendous blessing to me. The Bible is an enormous book with a great story, but you can’t understand it unless you’re diligent in reading it.
If you haven’t read the Bible and you want to start, I might suggest reading these books in this order: Matthew, John, Acts, Romans, and then the Psalms. That’s just a suggestion of mine. Otherwise, read what you’re interested in. For me lately, it’s been best to read large sections of Scripture at a time. I’ve also found it helpful to study a chapter in depth and take notes, or to look at only a few verses and think and pray about them for several days.
So read the Bible somehow. It’s God’s word to you. God’s word to you. Let Him change your heart. Let Him place good treasure there, so that it changes your thinking, makes you a more loving person, makes you a joy and an inspiration to everyone around you.