I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God’s straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.
So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.
So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. —2 Peter 1:1-11 (The Message)
This week’s devotional comes from Erika Patterson, and she will be focusing on how we can be proactive about having a relationship with God that is personal and intimate.
At this point, we might ask, how can we go about doing this? We might wonder what we can do to further develop a connection with our Heavenly Father. How can we continuously build a bond with Him?
Have you read your Bible today?
If not, why not? I hear and read a lot of reasons from a lot of women about why they don’t read their Bibles.
I’m too busy.
I’m too tired.
The Bible is confusing and I don’t understand what I’m reading.
And of course, there are other common reasons why we don’t read the Bible, but we might never say them out loud.
I don’t feel like the Bible applies to me.
The Bible intimidates me.
The Bible is old, and I feel like it doesn’t make sense in our culture.
The Bible is harsh. The God in the Bible seems mean and vengeful.
But dear, sweet sisters – please know that the Bible is absolutely, 100% for you. The Bible is God’s beautiful love letter to you. Every page, from the poetry in Psalms to the prophecy in Isaiah to the letters of Paul, every page is written so that you can know your Creator-Redeemer. From cover to cover, the Bible tells the story of God’s redemptive work with humanity. God reveals himself, his character, and his plan to us through his creation, his law, his adoption of the Israelites, and his saving work through Jesus. The redemptive story weaves itself through each character, each story, each book of the Bible – and it’s all there for you. It is God’s gift to you – his sweet daughter.
But you don’t understand it. You don’t “get anything” out of your time in the Word. You walk away confused and frustrated. Never fear! There are so many wonderful resources out there to help you study God’s word.
- First, find a good study Bible. These can be immensely helpful in understanding various words and phrases, reviewing the history and authorship of a book, and cross-referencing verses.
- Second, get a plan. There are some great resources out there to help you get organized. Personally, I love Quieting Your Heart: 6-Month Bible-Study Journal by Darlene Schacht. It’s a simple, easy way to focus your study time.
If you’re ready to deep-dive, check out Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Minds by Jen Wilkin. Jen walks her readers through an intense Bible study method that will help you understand what you’re reading and how to apply it.
There are many resources out there than can help you get started. Different resources will work better for different people. We all learn and study differently, so look around! Ask your friends and other Bible-girls. Get yourself a nice, new pack of gel highlighters and find what works for you.
Whatever method you choose to study, learn to study the Bible on your own. Commentaries are wonderful tools, devotionals can be insightful, books can be enlightening. All good things. But commentaries, devotionals and books are all written by men and women ABOUT the Bible. They are not the Bible. Don’t let them replace the Bible, but allow God’s word to stand on its own. Allow God to speak to you and teach you through his word. Don’t let other men and women be a constant scripture filter!
- Third, make a plan. What time will REALISTICALLY work best for you? What days work best for you? If you always get up at 6:30, don’t make a plan to get up at 4:30 to read your Bible. If you know you fall asleep on the couch by 8:45 every night, don’t plan to start reading your Bible at 9:30. Set yourself up for success by picking a time when you can focus on what you’re doing.
BUT I’M TOO BUSY, you argue. I DON’T HAVE TIME TO READ MY BIBLE! Hear me when I say, there are some times and some seasons of life that make Bible study difficult (and if you are there right now, it’s ok! We’ve all been there!). BUT the vast majority of us simply don’t make the time. You will make the time for things that are important to you. Maybe you need to manage your time better. Maybe you’re too busy with things that aren’t necessary? Maybe you need to sacrifice time usually dedicated to something else. What can you sacrifice? 15 minutes of sleep? 20 minutes of TV time? When God’s word becomes a priority in your life, you will find the time. You will make the time.
Friends, let God speak to you through His word. Let him show you who He is. Let him teach you, mold you, heal you and move you to action through his story of redeeming love.
Reading the Bible won’t always be easy – don’t expect it to be. You will be frustrated and you will feel inadequate to understand everything, but that is how God stretches you and teaches you. Don’t let that frustration stop you!
Reading the Bible won’t always leave you feeling comforted – that’s not its purpose. Though reading the Bible can be comforting, or uplifting, or edifying, the Bible wasn’t written to be your emotional band-aid, your best friend or your therapist. The Bible was written to bring glory to God. The Bible is God’s story about God’s work and God’s plan.
It won’t be easy, but it is essential to your growth as a Christian. Don’t wait – start today!