By Mel Lawrenz of The Brook Network, author of Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership.
God longs for us to receive his word as contained in the Scriptures. To demonstrate this God had a prophet eat a scroll that tasted as sweet as honey in his mouth (Ezek. 3:3). Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”
How, then, do we make Scripture reading and study rich disciplines in our lives? Here are some time-tested fundamental guidelines.
1. Just read it. Don’t wait until you have a master plan for consuming the whole of Scripture. Don’t wait until things are just right or until you have a large block of time to read Scripture. Avoidance keeps us from God’s voice, and simple procrastination does the same. When my grandfather was teaching me how to fish and watched me fiddling with my tackle, playing with bobbers and hooks and sinkers (with which I was utterly fascinated), he told me, “You won’t catch any fish unless your line is in the water. Just fish!” And I found out that he was right. I never once caught a fish when my line was out of the water. It is guaranteed. I’ve thought of that lesson many times when I suspect I’ve been keen on talking about the theory of spiritual life instead of just doing it.
Just read it. If you have a Bible reading plan, stick with it. If you don’t, first thing in the morning or before you go to bed, read just one chapter or even a few verses. Commit to opening your Bible at least once every day. If you want to grow a garden, you’ve got to get the seed in the ground.
Just read it.
2. Join your reading with praying. Again, if you are only beginning this discipline, don’t worry about the form and the quantity. Pray “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Ps. 119:18). And after you’ve read, take a few minutes to quietly reflect on the thoughts prompted by the passage. Tell God what you’ve learned, what you want to thank him for, and ask for further guidance.
3. Read and trust. When we read Scripture, seeds are being planted. We may not see immediately how the story of Solomon, Paul’s letter to Titus, or the book of Revelation will benefit us today. You may read something today that you do not understand at all. But as surely as seeds that are planted in rich, loamy soil with plenty of moisture will sprout, grow, and flourish, so will faithful daily readings of Scripture. Jesus taught about the Word of God in terms of seed that sometimes falls on the path (deaf ears), sometimes falls on rocky, shallow soil (superficial interest), and sometimes falls on soil choked with weeds (worldly competition). But when the seed falls into the heart of someone who is really listening and who trusts that God has spoken out of his love, then a living crop of truth will come to be. It just takes time and trust and a discipline that gets the seed planted in the first place.