I’ve always wondered if I am just a lousy Christian.
But ever since I was a kid, I have known that I should read the Bible as it was the key to a relationship with God. And so I would get up and do a burry-eyed read-over of a few verses, or, when I would set the bar higher, I’d fight through a full passage or chapter. And I would get nowhere doing it.
When I would walk away, having not gotten one inch closer to God from the experience, which was every time, I wondered where the problem lay. I remember talking to this one guy I met in a restaurant in New York that when he started reading the Bible, each page was like a pop-up book, where the words of God just jumped out at him. How I wanted that!
Then I heard that praying beforehand was critical. So I would pray and ask the Holy Spirit to make the words come alive—but either the Holy Spirit wasn’t all that eager, or, I was throwing up roadblocks that I couldn’t identify. Or, I was just too dense—which very much is a possibility.
Am I just a lousy Christian? I would wonder. Doesn’t God want me to know more about him? Doesn’t God speak to his people through his word?
Of course, the low rate of success did not inspire me to put in the effort. So days of not reading turned into weeks that turned into months and years and suddenly, I was a church-goer, and that was pretty much it.
But a few years ago I heard a pastor say something like this. “Do you have a hard time getting anything from reading the Bible?”
My ears perked up.
“I have a suggestion for you. Every time you read a passage, ask yourself these three questions, then write down the answers.”
Even before he offered the questions, I felt like my life was about to change.
How can I praise God for this?
What does this passage say about the character of God? (This answer can be similar to your answer for question #1, but don’t let it. Push yourself for a different hue.)
What is in this passage that God wants me to know today?
I went home and tried it. Suddenly I was biting down on the Word of God. I was taking chunks of the Word down into my heart and mulling them over with purpose: to put the answers down in a journal (critical) which has become one of my most valued possessions. The Word suddenly became glorious to me. I even noticed that the experience would begin to change my breathing. Deeper and deeper it would go.
Reading the Bible actually felt good.
I now have the kind of relationship I have always wanted. God speaks to me through His Word. I have my beloved journals to prove it.