Words in Red are excerpts from my journal as I have been taking the words of Jesus and letting them speak directly to my own heart.
John 5:39b, 40: “These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come.”
I remember trying to read the Bible as a young teenager .I was at a Christian youth camp but my heart was as far from God as one could get. That Bible might as well have been written in Mandarin Chinese for all that I understood of it. It was a lot of of Thee’s and Thou’s and the book as a whole had no relevance to my life as far as I could tell.
But then came the day of my great desperation. After months of increasingly depraved living, I was beaten down, ashamed, and hopeless. I found a Bible in my room (I have no idea how it got there) and challenged God, if He was real, to speak to me. And, man-o-man, did He! 60 minutes later, I was born again, free from the guilt and shame, and overwhelmed with a humble joy that the Savior of the world would speak so personally to me.
So what was the difference between by prior Bible reading and that night? FAITH. Before that night of desperation, I was lord of my own life and refused to allow myself to be open to the thought that Jesus was alive, that He was a loving Savior and that He had things He wanted to say to me. Religion taught me that God was holy and angry and that I was a sinner deserving of damnation. So reading the Bible from that mental standpoint of a lack of faith made comprehension impossible.
As Jesus said, I was one who could have looked into the Scriptures and seen a loving Savior, but I refused to come. I didn’t want to yield control of my life to a God who might make me become a nun or a missionary to Africa. I was in pursuit of fun!
On the night that I became born again according to the scriptures (see John 3:3 and 1 Peter 1:23), I approached the Bible with atomically small faith – but it was still faith. I cried out to God to speak to me through the Bible. And He did. When I allowed that tiny shred of faith to lead me to the Scriptures, it was as though someone exchanged my Chinese version of the Bible for a modern English translation! Not only could I understand the scriptures, but I could hear the Lord speaking personally, lovingly and truthfully to me.
So what was the key to being able to hear God’s voice through the pages of the Bible? Faith that He could speak to me. Faith that I could hear Him. Faith that God is real and currently speaking to people through his Word. Faith that Jesus has something to say to me and that I can hear him. On the night I first understood the Bible, my faith was the size of a mustard seed, but it was faith nonetheless. And God answered my tiny faith with His awesome love!
Maybe you’ve tried to read to read the Bible in years past and given up because it didn’t make sense to you. Or maybe you currently read the Bible but the words seem dry and lifeless. I encourage you to approach the Lord with on-purpose faith and ask HIm to open the eyes of your heart that you may SEE Him in His Word. He will answer your faith, no matter how small.
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
- Have you experienced the Bible as a personal message to you? Feel free to share your experience in the Comment section.
- Do you record the things you see and hear in the Bible so that you can go back to be reminded of those lessons and encouragement?
Side note: A plug for journaling…
I have kept a journal for over 20 years. I can’t express enough how much journaling has changed me. I record everything from the lessons I learn while reading the Bible, to personal prayers, to my concerns and problems. My journals have become my written history with God. I can’t encourage you enough to begin journaling. Even if you can’t write in it every day, or if you go through seasons of not utilizing your journal as often, don’t quit. Pick it back up and start again. As you go through the years of your walk with God you will be able to look back to be reminded of God’s faithfulness and the things He has spoken to you. I promise that you will find those words as fresh 5 years later as you did the day you wrote them down.
Lord God, Your Word is truth. Help me to always keep your truth as the center of my life, coming to You with a heart of faith that can see You and hear You in your Word. Lord, I ask that You open the eyes of my loved ones who can’t see You right now. Show them Your goodness and Your love within the words of Scripture. Demonstrate to them Your faithfulness and let them see Your glory. Lord, help us to approach Your Word with faith, believing that You will speak to us, teach us, encourage and align us with Your Truth. Jesus, let us gaze on you with eyes wide open – wide open to Your goodness, compassion, authority and mercy.