Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Do you experience your relationship with God in your head, or in your heart? ~Christa Black Gifford, Heart Made Whole
Last Saturday, I celebrate the completion of a year-long reading of the entire Bible. I began the study on the first Sunday of Advent, 2015, using the 52 Week Bible Reading Plan, which I highly recommend. As I used The Message for this study, I've decided to explore different versions of the Bible as I prepare to read every word of it again this year.
Yes! Reading the whole Bible is something I have never managed to accomplish before now. Needless to say, I'm feeling pretty darned good about this milestone achievement.
And if I'm honest with myself, I'm feeling quite proud, too. Smug even.
Until, that is, I read Chapter Seven, The Naked Heart, in Christa Black Gifford's book, Heart Made Whole, and encounter this passage: "It's easy to open a Bible and read a Scripture with your physical eyes and memorize a sentence with your head, but studying the Bible without experiencing the God of the Bible is a total waste of time. If your pursuit of Scripture isn't leading you to intimate fellowship with God, then you've completely missed the mark."
Ouch! Gifford's words hit way to close to home. How many times did I open my Bible over the last year because it was time to read the daily offering, never giving a second thought of God wishing to speak not just to my mind, but to my heart, too? Had I neglected to invite Him, through the Holy Spirit, to sit with me as I read, to help guide me in truly hearing His Word with my whole being?
Not nearly enough!
So this go-round, I'm changing things up. I'm committing to begin each daily session of Scripture reading with a prayer, a sincere invitation to God to open the eyes of my heart to what He is trying to show and tell me. What He desires to reveal of Himself in those particular passages.
I never again wish to simply read God's Word, and dare to imagine that is ever enough.
I long to experience the presence of the One who, as Gifford writes, "just happens to be the most important, intimate, loving, compassionate, powerfully real relationship you'll ever have . . ."
For the next two Wednesdays, I will be joining fellow Christian bloggers, Jason Stasyszen, Sarah Salter and Glynn Young in a discussion of Heart Made Whole by Christa Black Gifford. I hope you will join us as we explore this amazing book together.