Four years ago today, I made a decision, that while it may seem trivial to some, began to change the course of my life. I began to make it daily mission to read through the entire Bible. I started with one of those One Year Bible plans, where you read through a few chapters, OT and NT, each day. I was 33 years old and felt I needed to finally learn something beyond the standard stories I learned in Sunday School growing up. It was time to truly get a real sense of God’s Word and learn all that He reveals to us there.
So the mission began. Morning after morning, I logged into my Samsung phone or tablet, and would read. Some mornings, I plugged it up in my truck and listened on the ride to the office. I learned a lot that first time through. I was able to finally know more of the stories and more of the details, that I did not have a clue about, or heard others talk about without any idea of what they were referring too.
One year later, after that first time through, I decided to do it again. Like reading any other book, often times, you miss a great deal the first time through. This time, I learned more and absorbed more. It seemed like with each day, God had something new to reveal, so I stayed intentional in it. After that 2nd year, there was a new tug on my heart. I began to read in a way the 3rd year that allowed me to begin linking OT with NT. Prophesy to fulfillment, etc. My eyes began to open more and my heart continued to change as I was seeing the world differently.
I look back on where it all began and it is absolutely amazing to me, to see the continued work that God has done on my heart. I wasn’t going to listen to the ear ticklers, I was not going to let the wind sway me in one direction or another any longer. Everything I learned, I wanted to be God revealed whether in His Word or through my heart from the Holy Spirit. This growth continues too. I am made new in Christ and the rest of my life will be spent learning more and getting to know God on a deeper and more intimate level. He desires that intimacy with all of us.
Paul said in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by renewing your mind, so that you may prove that the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” My life has truly been transformed and I strive to live like this each day so that the light of the Lord is shining through me. This is where continued growth comes in. I’m not going to get this right everyday. I know that. I am at war with my old self and the enemy each day, but I am strengthened with the armor of God each day now. With each day, we spend in His word, the stronger we become.
Ephesians 4:23-24 says “…Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Learning this has been a huge part of my life. I have a new and authentic self in Christ, now. Knowing Him, I no longer needed to be ruled by my false self and my old nature.
I share all of this to share this. Each of us grow, spiritually in different ways. Even in my own home, my wife and kids grow uniquely in their way. I try to guide them, but it is up to them in the end. I challenge you, if you struggle with growth, start somewhere. Start with just reading the Word. Learn to be intentional about that. It may take a while to go through, but do it. After you read it, read it again. Then you can began to put the pieces together and start diving deeper and deeper. My pastor, Tim, challenged me this week on how to now dive even deeper though expository study, and that is where I head next.
It all starts somewhere folks. Trust me, just starting with taking the time to read, will move you in the right direction. You have to want to though. I promise you the work God will begin to do on you will be immense. It may take time, but the more intentional you get about it, the more He draws you in and the more you will get to know Him and build real intimacy with HIm. It allowed me with real authenticity to just say to God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), “I Love You!” This is my challenge to you. Dive in.
In his album ’13 Letters,’ Rapper, Trip Lee has a song called Dig In and the hook says..
Bible, check; spiral, check, highlighter check
Now dig, dig
You want to know Him? Got to dig, dig. You want to know Him? Got to dig, dig
That’s where it begin. Just start digging. You will get to know Him more than you could have hoped for and the learning and growth never ends.