“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”Psalm 119:11 NKJV
Intimate relationships require and demand constant communication. They require communication from the most mundane moments in our lives to the most dramatic. No other relationship can be more intimate than our personal relationship with God, who knows us better than anyone else.
Just as the discovery of our significant other is an ongoing effort of probing and searching, and looking deeper, so it is with our relationship with God.
I find it interesting that God knows us and sees us with extraordinary details. Even the very number of hairs on our heads is known to him! Can you imagine knowing your loved one with such detail?
“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7 NKJV
Consider what the verse is saying that you have so much value that he took the time to know the exact number of hairs on your head. In fact, he knew you before you were born.
He gives us a glimpse of his ability to know us before birth when he spoke to his Old Testament prophet Jeremiah.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; Before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV
By comparison we do not know our loved ones with such intimate details. We strive our entire lives but never have the in-depth knowledge of others. However, unlike our human relationships, God desires us to have a meaningful closeness with him that is unlike any other.
He has specifically designed us so that our completeness only comes from our willingness to be close to him and fully understand his character, nature, and love for us.
The Bible, God’s Portfolio
“Between early 2019 and 2020, the percentage of US adults who say they use the Bible daily dropped from 14 percent to 9 percent, according to the State of the Bible 2020 report by the Barna Group and the American Bible Society” Source Christianity Today July 22, 2020, David Roach
God created us to be more like Him than anything else He made. Knowing and living his word is how we get there. Imagine if our relationships with our loved ones or intimate partners reflected our time spent reading God’s word. Would you be content with only having casual and periodic acknowledgement?
Would just a passing glance every couple of weeks be sufficient for you or your spouse? How about a courtesy hug or kiss monthly? Of course not, yet this is exactly how some of us, (myself included) have treated our relationship with God. We were designed for a close intimate relationship with Him. Only his revealed word gives us insight and a clear picture of who He is.
Just as we must spend a lot of time with our loved ones to truly know who they, how they function and all their unique quirks, so it is with God’s word.
There are many reasons to having an in-depth knowledge of God’s word. Simply reading it as a once over is not enough. The word of God is living and inspired, and it is constantly revealing the truth about Him and ourselves. It should not be a chore that is dreaded.
I confess that there have been times in my Christian life that reading it seemed more like an academic chore than the craving of knowing what hidden treasures it would reveal about me or God.
When you get a clear understanding of what the word of God is and believe it for what it is, the inerrant word of God, the more you will appreciate every page. It absolutely astonishes me that reading or hearing the Bible several times over reveals fresh brand-new awe spiring insight that I did not see before.
The bible gives us a close-up in-depth look at the characteristics of God, and it highlights his dealings with people. It gives astonishing stories, lessons and outcomes of those who obeyed Godly principles and those who did not. They are literally there for our example.
“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon who the ends of the ages have come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11 NKJV
Bible Reading As A To Do List
I spent all my teenage years at a juvenile group home in Baltimore County Md. During the school months a mandatory one-hour study hall in the evening was required regardless of if you had homework or not. So, after many one-hour sessions that produced little to nothing for schoolwork (because I did most of it in school), I decided to take on the task of reading the Bible in its entirety from cover to cover.
So, with military precision I would read for one hour and trust me it was like getting a teeth cleaning by the dentist using sandpaper! I would systematically clock in, skim the pages barely comprehending anything that was written. Yes, a few major big, themed stories would capture my attention for a while, like Adam and Eve, the flood, the Israelites crossing the Red Sea and so forth. However, I was not reading it with my personal growth and character development in mind. It was my to do list, to make me feel good that I had done something, especially since most teenage boys were not reading the Bible.
I was not even a Christian at that time, so it had no significance to me other than a brief familiarity of the things I had heard all my life like the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, etc.
So, it is not surprising that many people today do not see the personal value in reading, studying, and meditating on the bible. We seem to be ok with gloating at how we get our weekly dose of scripture via a social media page following, or a verse of the day app on our phones. But should we be wanting and desiring more?
Bible As A Life Coach
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 NKJV
The purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the bible but rather to know God. No one ever outgrows the scripture; it is a living thing always relevant to each individual and every generation.
God speaks most clearly to our lives by his word. I have been most surprised by all of the practical wisdom for daily living that it possesses. Let’s be honest, life is tough, and we all need a life coach or guide to show us how to navigate the choppy waters and what to expect on the journey.
If you are in a loving relationship with your spouse or loved one, you would want to spend meaningful time with them to learn from them as they reveal their true nature and character. You would want to go deeper into understanding them. You would ask questions and think about their responses.
Your time spent with the Bible can be compared to the many sessions you would have with a life coach. You can gain insight into your personal life and how to best handle different situations. Its pages contain immeasurable wisdom that will prove priceless over time.
If you heed its warnings, you can avoid painful lessons and the associated consequences of disobedience. You also must know that the contents of God’s word are both for your protection and your well-being. Early on when I was reading the Bible, I struggled with seemingly old-fashioned rules that only wanted me to not have any fun or enjoyment in life.
Nothing could be further from the truth. God’s word is the specific knowledge that we all need to make the best decisions in our lives. It has guiding principles that are designed to keep us from unnecessary hardship, not only as individuals but also collectively.
We Should Strive For More Than Bible 101
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 NKJV
It is important that we progress in our journey to become more and more like Jesus Christ. It can only happen with the saturation of God’s word in our hearts and mind. The first time I read that we are in fact supposed to commit to the work and discipline of transforming our lives by his word, I thought of it as an impossible task. It is not. We have help. The very word of God that brought all of creation into existence is equally powerful enough to change our lives.
His word is tied directly to the best life we can obtain here on earth. Just as blood is the vital life-giving fluid to our bodies, so is the word of God the sustaining substance of our spiritual lives. You would not dare drain your body of blood and expect to live. Yet we seem to not realize that without the word of God saturating our mind and spirit, we will become weaker and weaker until eventually we are spiritually dead.
God’s word, mainly the preaching of the gospel, is the only thing that can transform a dead spirit to one that is alive to the things of God. I have been amazed at how after becoming a Christian how ‘alive’ the bible became to me. As I was reading it, the words seem to jump off the pages, and spoke directly to me, as if I were the only person being addressed.
I have heard of countless others who testify of this same experience. What used to be a foreign language in terms of my comprehension and understanding, became clear as day. By the work of the Holy Spirit illuminating God’s word in your heart you have life transforming knowledge that you grow to love and appreciate over time. When we actually obey its precepts, you will see a change from the person you were to someone who thinks and behaves in accordance with the new born-again character that you received when you became a Christian.
God uses the Holy Spirit to teach us about what we are reading in His word. He convicts us of our sin and helps us to remember what we have read. Just as a you need to deposit money into your bank account before you can make a withdrawal, so it is with the Holy Spirit and the word of God. The more you read and are exposed to God’s word the Holy Spirt can access it for the exact situation pertaining to your life.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 NKJV
Your thirst for more will become automatic as you grow in spirit and see the transforming power of obedience. As Christians we have a mandate to learn more about the word of God. We are called to do more than just a brief daily reading.
Making good sense of the Bible and applying its precepts wisely to our lives is a hard thing to do. We are instructed to not just listen, or read, but to engage in its practical daily application in our lives.
It is important to take time and make a concerted effort to meditate and let the word fill your heart and mind. The transformation takes place in the mind as the word is allowed to reshape our thinking and reasoning.
As a child I was familiar with a few bible verses and a couple of stories. But those trinkets of bible knowledge did not have the life changing impact that personal study has had over the years. It was during those times of meditation and reading to understand that faith to actually do the word was manifested.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 NKJV
For me the most profound impact the word has had on me is its ability to gently remind me if I am going astray or have gone astray. Countless times the Holy Spirit has used the word to put the spotlight on my sinful desires. It was during those moments that I had to decide whether to listen and obey, which leads to more Christ like transformation or disobey and willfully sin. To be honest I have done both.
Some of my social media engagement has been challenged by the Holy Spirit. Mean spirited or worse comments have come from my heart to the keyboard. However, the word of God is faithful in gently reminding me and serving as a filter for the words I say.
It is the bedrock of why we should strive to keep the word in our heart, so that we do not go against the character of Christ. I can truly appreciate the reasoning King David had when he declared, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 NKJV
Eugene Coghill is a contributing writer at Faith Filled Family Magazine and the creator of Kingdom Living, www.eugenecoghill.com a Christian based inspirational blog. His achievements have included two published novels, Love Is A Fishnet (2008), A Loving Deception (2020). He is in pursuit of a freelance copywriting career with American Writers and Artists, Inc. and is a member of the Professional Writers Alliance.
Some past careers have included the United States Marine Corps, law enforcement, corporate investigator and is currently a professional driver (tractor trailer) for Walmart. Inspirational speaking, especially to troubled youths has become his growing passion to share his own story of overcoming a very abusive and challenging childhood.