How Reading the Bible Changed My Life
I know that sounds a bit dramatic. But it’s true: reading the Bible did change my life.
I was a fourteen-year-old girl at the time, and in my opinion, everything in my life was going just fine. I wasn’t looking for an opportunity for my life to change because I didn’t think anything needed to change.
My family was in the States on furlough, traveling around to different churches that support us. Much of the time, however, we stayed in the town where my mom grew up, doing homeschool and attending our home church.
The youth pastor at our home church had this annoying love for what he called “sharing times.” He would have us teens break up into smaller groups and share with one another what God was doing in our lives. I’m sure some teens were genuinely open and transparent during these times, but I know that I wasn’t.
I couldn’t share what God was doing in my life because I had a secret: God wasn’t doing anything in my life. At least, that’s how I felt. I knew enough Christianese, however, to get by during these times.
But that didn’t change the fact that I basically had no relationship with God. I believe I was a Christian, but I was a baby Christian who had been a baby Christian for the past 8-10 years.
Around this time, one of my Bible teachers (whom I watched on DVD in homeschool), started giving homework for me to read in Acts. And being the spiritual, churched, sweet missionary kid that I was, I refused to do the homework. After all, my teacher would never know that I wasn’t doing it—he was on DVD!
A couple weeks went by, and my conscience finally starting talking to me. Or more accurately, my sense of self-preservation started talking to me—and it told me that I would be in huge trouble if my mom found out I wasn’t doing my homework in Bible class!
So, reluctantly, I began to read the book of Acts. I read one chapter a day for 28 days, all the way through Acts. And I was ecstatic. I had never read a book of the Bible like that before, just taking one chapter a day for an extended period of time. In the past, my attempts at Bible reading had all failed.
The book of Acts was done—but I didn’t want to stop. I went to the book of Matthew, and proceeded to read through the whole New Testament, just reading one chapter a day.
As I read God’s Word consistently, day by day, something amazing began to happen. Something inside me began to change.
I began to love my family more. I began to look forward to fellowshipping with believers at church. I began to desire to live righteously. I began to recognize and forsake sins in my life.
But the most important change is that I began to know and love God.
For the first time in my young Christian life, I had a deepening, growing relationship with my God and Savior, my Creator. For the first time, I understood and believed that my life was held in the great and awesome hands of my kind and gracious heavenly Father. For the first time, I recognized what a terrible rift my sin could create between me and God, and for the first time that realization hurt.
I felt like my eyes had been opened, like I was seeing the world in a whole new light. I was seeing my life through the clarifying, intensifying, purifying lens of Scripture.
The last conclusion I would want any reader to come to is that I’m a super spiritual Christian or that I didn’t have any major sin struggles after this “reformation” in my life. That fact is that I faced some of my hardest battles in the next couple years. And even to this day I struggle with my flesh and with my often waning desire to pursue God.
I’ve felt for a long time that David knew something about my own heart when he wrote in Psalm 53:2-3, “God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”
Seeking God isn’t something that anyone does naturally. So when I look back at that time in my life, I don’t see a 14-year-old who suddenly became “spiritual”; I see a gracious God who chose to intervene in an apathetic teen’s life. I don’t see my own faithful heart; I see the faithful heart of God that kept on pursuing me, despite my faithlessness, and that still pursues me to this day.
But my point is that everything changed when I started seeking God in His Word. And for anyone who desperately wants a deeper relationship with God, I have some good news: God’s Word is still as powerful today as it was when I was 14.
God’s Word still has the power to change lives, to convict of sin, to draw hearts to repentance, confession, and faith. God’s Word still comforts and guides, teaches and reproves, refreshes and restores. God’s Word is still the bedrock of our Christian faith.
When was the last time you sat down with your Bible and just spent some time with God? This morning? Last week? Never?
No believer can have a healthy relationship with God based on the leftovers of work that others have put into studying the Bible. We need good preachers, we need Christian teachers, and we need spiritual mentors.
But most of all, we need God!
Don’t settle for the byproducts of any other believer’s relationship with God. Invest in your relationship with Him. Take the time to pursue Him, in His revealed Word, day in and day out. Not just because it’s the thing to do as a Christian. Not just because others expect you to.
Do it because you must, because you desperately need to know God.
You will never be the same again.