When I got serious about spending time with God, it changed my life
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I’m one of those strange creatures that LOVES everything about Texas summer, including the HEAT! But the downside of summer for me is that my Bible study class is on “break.” When a holiday or summer break comes, I revert to a more lackadaisical approach to my Bible study.
I love God, am passionate about my faith, and try each day to make sure my actions are in line with my beliefs. But when it came to REALLY digging deep each day to learn more about God and “be still” so I could hear what He wanted to tell me, I was so unstructured.
So, I prayed that God would reveal exactly what He wanted me to do to get back to this place I wanted to be. My answer to that prayer came the end of last summer when Rev. Paul Rasmussen kicked off his “Habits” sermon series (how to change them or start new ones).
You start small and just keep at it until it becomes natural.
Of course, we all know this every time we try to “eat better, exercise more, etc.,” but I decided that I REALLY wanted to do it when it came to my quiet time and Scripture study. Not try to do it, but actually just do it.
I made a REAL commitment with God: I was going to start a new morning routine and would not allow myself to modify that commitment until I had been consistent with it for three weeks. I made the vow to get up every morning at 6:00 am and go to a special place in my house that I deemed “my quiet time” spot. I set up a basket next to my comfy chair for my Bible, Bible study, journal, pens, highlighters, and reference commentaries.
I didn’t know quite what I was going to do that first morning as I wanted to start with a fresh approach, but I sat down and just prayed that God would lead my time. I wish I could say that the first morning was glorious and I felt so blessed, but actually, I was still confused about what this “new” quiet time needed to be for me (and God).
Was I supposed to just do my Bible study questions, blindly open the Bible to some random page and read, flip through commentary books, or pray?
I know being an organized person who thrives on structure and action plans has its benefits, but in this case, it was hindering me. I was so set on having a “goal” for that morning time that I was missing the point.
I had to stop trying to “control” my time and let God do what I had asked him to do — lead me.
So, over the course of the next two weeks, I opened my Bible and started with some basic passages that I wanted to take a deeper dive into and began to journal about them. I took a “freestyle” approach — just let my reading lead me from topic to topic.
If I had a question, I would go down that “rabbit hole” and research. I started to become fascinated with everything related to truly understanding the Bible and began to have a renewed desire to know what the Bible had to say and not just what someone else thought the Bible had to say on a topic. I wanted to go to the source and read and study for myself. I wanted to feed my soul real food.
I also began to understand what it looks like when God is speaking to me while studying His word.
When I’m reading Scripture and digging around for the wisdom behind what I am reading, the moment I receive “inspiration” — the “aha moment” of clarity — I stop and listen. I let my mind wonder and unpack that thought and go deeper to how it really applies to my life — what is God telling me?
Sometimes I get this shot of adrenaline (almost a humming) deep inside when I start to see the path God is leading me down. Sometimes I even chuckle out loud when He makes something so clear to me that I go “duh.” Like, really? How is it I am just now realizing that?
This is how I hear God talking to me: convicting me, encouraging me, enlightening me, guiding me, and revealing to me — it’s my daily “conversation.” I find myself actually excited to get up each morning to see what God is going to teach me today.
My attitude shifted from studying the Bible as something I should do to something I really, really wanted to do.
It's been five months. I’m at a point where I don’t even have to think about it, I’m just doing it. Most mornings, I wake up before the 6:00 am alarm goes off. I see how the knowledge and wisdom I’m gaining through this time in Scripture study is manifesting into tangible changes —in my attitude, routine, the way I plan my day, etc.
God is using this Scripture time to clearly reveal to me areas and priorities in my life He wants me to tweak, new ways to schedule my day, new ways to spend my “free time,” and most of all, God is showing me how He wants me to use the spiritual gifts He has given me.
There are many different approaches to daily time with God and the study of Scripture, but the one thing they all have in common is that they have to be done with faithful regularity in order to reap the full benefits.
As Rev. Rasmussen said in his “Habits” sermons, once you start a habit, it begins to take over and becomes something you do automatically; it is a part of your daily routine. You don’t want to miss it!
For me, the real study of Scripture moved what I know in my head to my heart. His Word has become my
“Google Maps, Siri, Alexa, and Magic 8 Ball” all rolled into one!