Growing up I was never a reader. I did my assigned reading in high school and college, sort of, but that was it. I associated reading with the requirement of school work and never really found the enjoyment in it until much later in life. Just after Eve and I were married I was deployed while serving in the Marine Corps. We had been attending Church together before we were married and I owned a Bible but honestly, it never occurred to me to read it. It’s interesting as I look back, God was stirring in me something deep and profound and I was sensing it but was unsure how to really connect my heart to His. So, being half way around the world and no contact with my loved ones, I decided to read the Bible.
I can’t tell you today, 25 years later, how thankful I am that I did. Reading the Bible on a regular basis literally changed my life. There was something that began to change in me almost immediately. I felt a connection to God, my Father, in a personal, intimate way that I never knew was possible. I looked forward each day to spending time in the Word as if God himself was having a conversation with me. And the more I read, the more I realized that is exactly what was happening. They say knowledge is power and once you know something no one can take it from you. Once you begin to read the Word of God for yourself, you become safeguarded against erroneous teaching and false ideas about our heavenly Father.
Once I entered ministry on a full time basis, almost 20 years ago, I realized most people I encountered didn’t know anything about the Bible that someone else didn’t tell them and most of that was wrong. For so long I was in the same boat. I had so many misconceptions about who God really was and how He truly felt about me. I would just listen to other people and assume that they knew what they were talking about and believe what ever they said. Once I developed my own relationship with God through the Word I realized it’s not as hard to understand as I thought. Jesus came to earth speaking in the language of farmers and fishermen, not seminarians. The Word really is designed to be understood by regular people like us.
Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ Job said that he esteemed the word of God more than his necessary food. And in Jeremiah 15:16 the prophet said, “16Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart…”
In all these passages we see our intake of God’s word related to eating physical food. So we see the Word is like food but more important than food. You might say “you can’t live without food”. That’s exactly the point. You can’t live without the Word! Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop most Christians from trying. So many people are in a spiritually malnourished state which leads to all kinds of problems in their lives and relationships. The word of God strengthens us from the inside out. Naturally, we understand that diet has more to do with our physical health than exercise. In the same way, our spiritual diet has more to do with our spiritual and physical health than perhaps we ever thought. In fact in Proverbs 4:22 the scripture says the word of God is life to those who find them and health to all their flesh. Its a powerful truth!
In closing, I would like to encourage you to develop the simple discipline of spending time in the Word everyday. Its the best way to develop the relationship we have with the Father. You will experience His goodness in ways you can’t imagine. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus and the Father are one and they are indivisible from the Word. Experience the fullness of the Father today through the simple discipline of reading His word.