What has Jesus spoken into your life today?
As a young Christ follower, I had no frame of reference to answer that question. Then someone taught me how to spend time in God’s Word, reading to experience the person of Christ rather than simply to gain more information about him.
The primary revelation of Jesus is through the Bible – it introduces us to Christ, helps us recognize his voice, and teaches us to love him.
Through the Word, we also receive God’s truth for our lives. We discover how to live in relationship with others, do business, lead, deal with conflict, walk through pain, live by the Spirit…the list goes on and on.
In this month’s Herald, we read about declining Bible engagement among Canadians. In fact, research shows weekly Bible reading has dropped by almost half over the last two decades.
Not surprisingly, in conversations across the country, I’ve noticed that fewer and fewer Christians process life through a biblical worldview, or understand God’s leading and heart for his people. Many of us are “running blind” by disconnecting our lives from God’s Word. If we don’t know what the Bible says, we can’t apply
it to our lives or process issues through biblical truth. We’re left with cultural truths and personal opinion. We also miss out on God’s regular encouragement, kindness and love.
Inspiration and strength
The unique and wonderful reality of a relationship with God is that he wants to communicate directly with us. He wants us to move beyond second-hand faith that comes from living vicariously through the stories of others. While we can learn from or be inspired by fellow believers, we’re starving our faith if we miss out on God’s direct communication.
As “people of the Book,” Mennonite Brethren have always believed the primary way God speaks to us is by his Spirit through his Word (cf. Psalm 119:97–105). In fact, reading the Bible is one of the highest forms of prayer because it is God speaking to us.
Without hearing the voice of God through his Word, we will grow weary in life and in service because we live and serve out of our own strength, our own issues, and our own dysfunctions. We become bitter and discouraged. We lose perspective. We’re easily swayed by the winds of culture and the “wisdom” of humanity. Our worldview becomes skewed.
To remain strong and faithful, we need God’s Word planted firmly in our hearts and minds. But that can only happen when Bible reading becomes part of our regular habits.
Ironically, many of us seek God’s power and presence without actually meeting with or hearing from him on a consistent basis. When we eat lunch, do we expect the meal to feed us for an entire week? I don’t think so – not even if we eat a bit extra. Binge eating doesn’t work physically and it doesn’t work spiritually.
More than 75 percent of Canadian evangelicals say they have no daily spiritual feeding program, as if a weekly Bible message is supposed to nourish them for seven days. Yet many of these same Christians complain they’re not being spiritually fed!
The point isn’t just to check off time with God as another task. The goal is to meet with the Father, hear his voice through his Word, and be transformed and led by what the Holy Spirit reveals. Quality happens in the midst of quantity. Familiarity makes it easier to hear God’s voice.
Personally, I find Life Journaling very effective, and have followed New Hope Church’s daily reading plan on the YouVersion Bible app for more than a decade. It’s how I start my day. I find it helpful to write things down and track God’s voice in my life so I don’t forget how he has spoken to me – and how often he has spoken.
Regardless of how we engage with Scripture, the key is to spend time with the Father, listen for the leading of the Holy Spirit, and apply what we hear to our lives.
What has Jesus spoken into your life today? I was impacted by Acts 13:1–3. Which part of the Word impacted you?
Follow executive director Willy Reimer on Twitter @willreimer