Since I have been talking about the 2015 Bible Challenge, I have heard a few people share their hesitation in taking something like this on because they find the Bible so hard to understand.
Let me say first–I get what you are saying. Sometimes I wonder if you think that I am somehow different than you. I, too, have struggled to understand and have really felt guilty about not loving God’s Word as I ought to as a believer. My lack of love for God’s Word was a big shadow over my Christian life for many years. And so I started praying about it–asking specifically that God would give me a love for His Word.
And He answered that prayer.
It wasn’t instant and sometimes I still struggle, but He truly has instilled in me a love for scripture. It is just one of the many ways God has proven Himself faithful to me. I am not special. If you ask Him, He will do the same thing for you. There are a few things we can do to prepare our hearts, though, to be receptive to the Word.
We first (and most importantly) need to recognize our sinfulness and be sure to have a humble and submissive spirit when we read. This can take some work in this world of “rights”, with the great focus always on “me”. It’s not how we have been trained to think. I have also found in my own life that it is a purposeful choice that I have to make almost daily. I have not found humility something that I master and then can move on. Pride and selfishness sneak their way in so subtly.
We also need to bring a spirit of obedience– being ready to obey even the things that make us uncomfortable or that may require sacrifice. This can be very difficult and I can truly understand why so many people struggle with this and may even stop reading. Stepping out of our comfort zone and giving up the things we love is never easy– for any reason. But if you are willing to do this, you will not walk away at the end of 2015 unchanged if you participate in the Bible Challenge.
I would also like to add here– and this is really important– I did not understand every passage I read in the Bible this past year. There were many moments where I was scratching my head, really puzzled over what a particular passage was saying.
I know at this point, skeptics and scoffers would call me naive and perhaps even ridiculous to keep reading. But here’s the thing–I am okay if I don’t understand everything about God. In fact, if I did understand everything, I would really be bringing Him down to my level– putting Him inside a box of my own finite and limited understanding. The fact that I can’t understand everything is okay with me because I understand enough. And, quite frankly, I have to agree with Mark Twain, who said–
“It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts I do understand.”
I agree. I think many times we are so disconcerted and uncomfortable about what we can understand, that we often use the excuse we can’t understand it as a reason to just give up.
And I will state right here– that is the easier choice. Yes, it is. It is easier to just say we can’t understand it and put it aside. At least it is easier if you are looking only at right now. This present moment. What I just wish I could help you understand is the great peace and joy and comfort that comes with submitting your life to Christ in all ways, first and foremost by spending time getting to know Him in the Word. I cannot even begin to tell you how God has used His Word in my life this year. Again, let me just confirm once more — I am not anything special. I am just a middle-aged mom from Small-town, America. Let me also make sure you understand that I still fight sin and my selfish desires every single day. This is not about me but about what God is doing in me. He can do the same thing for you. I know He can. If you will submit and obey Him. And the first start to that is by getting into His Word.
If you are still with me at this point in this post, then it means you are drawn to joining the challenge. But perhaps something is holding you back. If that’s the case, then I want you to know that I am praying for you specifically. I am going to pray that you are given the faith and the courage to pick up your Bible and read it in 2015. Really read it.
I don’t care if you use my challenge. That’s just there as an encouragement and help for those who desire it. But if that seems overwhelming, then try a 2-year plan. Or an inductive study of a single book. But do something. I can promise you that you will not be sorry.
And, as always, if I can pray for you specifically or answer any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Find more information on the Growing4Life 2015 Bible Challenge here.