We want to know God’s voice. We want to know what He has to tell us. And if you’ve been a Christian for a while, you probably know that the Bible is our primary source to discover what He wants and how to learn His voice. But the Bible can be hard to read and even more difficult to see how it applies to us. Frequently, it can feel like an item on our to-do lists with all the frustration it can arouse. We either give up, because it is hard, or obey, because it’s the right thing to do, but we don’t know how to make it a beneficial part of our lives.
However, the Bible isn’t only about obedience and application. It is our opportunity to actively seek God and learn more about who He is; to build a relationship with Him. The more we learn about who He is, the more we will desire Him, hear His voice and want to live in surrendered obedience for Him.
I struggled with this for such a long time! It was much easier learning from sermons or Christian fiction than actually opening my Bible. The Bible felt heavy and daunting. Then God started showing me that maybe I was looking at the Bible from the wrong perspective.
My sister has severe Cerebral Palsy and is considered non-verbal. Our conversations consist of yes or no questions. Every sentence is a game (or ten) of 20 Questions. This means that communication with her can be quite difficult and at times impossible, even when the whole family is trying to figure it out together. This difficulty doesn’t stop me from talking to her or figuring out what she has to say. On the contrary, I work much harder and pay much better attention to what she is saying than I probably do for my husband, because of the effort required.
So why am I willing to put that much effort into understanding my sister and what does that have to do with reading the Bible? I love my sister. My love for her and my desire to have that relationship with her makes me willing to put in the hard work to understand her. So God’s question to me was, do I love Him?
The Bible isn’t just a book of to-dos and obedience checklists. It is His loving message to us, to me, about who He is and how I can know Him better. It is a conversation. Yes, at times it can be heavy and hard to understand. I, like my sister, am limited in understanding and knowledge and cannot speak or understand anything as well as God. My sister and I are willing to put in the effort to converse for the sake of relationship and I can choose to do the same with God and His conversation, the Bible.
When I look at the Bible as a way to learn more about who He is and what He has to say, I’m not as worried about the lists of right and wrong to follow or even what I don’t understand. I’m simply coming to Him; building that relationship. If I’m really stuck figuring something out, I call in the reinforcements to help me, the same as I do with my sister. And as with my sister, my understanding and ability to hear God has increased greatly with practice. The time I’ve invested in God and His word has been richly rewarded. I find I even miss that time reading His words to me when my schedule runs amuck and I don’t spend that time with Him.
If you’re just beginning, start small and don’t worry about the application. That will come in time and the Bible is not a text book. Start looking for what you are learning about the truth and character of God as if He were someone you just met. Look for the overarching story He’s telling. As you grow in your knowledge and love for Him, you will naturally build a greater understanding of the Bible and an ability to see what applications He has for you. You will learn to hear His voice.
Let’s talk about this! Do you have a regular Bible reading time? If so, what do you enjoy most about that time? If not, what do you think keeps you from developing that habit? Did anything in Lyndsey’s post resonate with you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or by joining the conversation on our Facebook Page, because we can all learn from and encourage each other!