The first thing to remember when digging into the Word: it’s about relationship. It’s not about obligation, “being good”, or checking off an item on our to-do list. Spending time in God’s Word is spending time with God.
It doesn’t have to be a big production. It doesn’t have to be done at a certain time or in a certain place. God meets us where we are at. Make time for God and He’ll make time for you. When I started out, I was believing the lie that I didn’t have time. But I’ve found time spent in God’s word is never time wasted and He always redeems the time.
Make time. When I started on this journey, I found it useful to plan to sit in the Word at the same time everyday. This was the best fit for my lifestyle and personality at the time. Now, I spend time in Scripture whenever I can. Sometimes it’s early in the morning before the house is awake or during my lunch break at work. You might find it’s easier to choose a set time or maybe that makes it feel like a chore to you. Basically, just do it.
Choose a time when you’re most alert and engaged. I am an early to bed, early to rise type of a person. Sitting in the Word right before bed is not the best idea for me. I tend to fall asleep and have a hard time really engaging. It’s the same reason I make early morning coffee dates with friends rather than planning to go out late. If mornings are really hard for you, but you feel energized right before bed, you might find that is the best time for you.
- Begin with prayer. Prayer is simply conversation with God. Start the conversation with thanksgiving. Bring anything to the Lord that is burdening you or distracting you. Finally, ask Him to speak to you and to reveal what he would like to say to you. Trust that He will speak to you. He will reveal Himself to you.
- Search for God’s character. Whatever passage, chapter or verse you choose to read, ask yourself, “What does this tell me about God?” It’s the same way we approach getting to know new friends or getting to know old friends better. We learn about who they are, what they’re like. It’s no different with God.
- End with prayer. There’s no one way to pray just as there’s no one way to have a conversation with someone, but I tend to ask God to continue to reveal Himself to me. If He revealed a particular character quality such as loving, I ask Him to reveal His love to me and to help me understand it further. And I always end with thanksgiving.
There are many methods out there, but this is the one that helped me to go from just studying scripture like a textbook to experiencing deep relationship with Father God. I like that the focus is on God and not what I should or shouldn’t do.
My time in the Word looks different now. It’s these simple three steps expanded and built upon. It’s much more fluid and varying depending on where God takes us and what He wants us to talk about. I do come back to this simple way when I feel myself losing focus on what truly matters: relationship with God.
Because that’s what it’s all about. The whole Bible is all about relationship. God loves you so much. He wants you to know Him. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to suffer and die for your sins to restore relationship with you. Jesus rose again to be one with the Father and sent His Holy Spirit to dwell with you. You are never alone. Never. God is always with you.
Don’t worry that you’ll do it wrong or will mess it up. You can’t. God will meet you. He knows your heart and he sees you. If you seek Him you will find Him. I know because He promised.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
**If you’re someone who enjoys listening to music while you dig in, this is great instrumental music from Bethel