I remember lying in bed one night and reading a daily devotional magazine . I was about 25 or so. Married. Teaching. Living the dream, I suppose. Yet I can distinctly remember thinking , after I finished the short reading and reached to turn the light out, “Surely He wants more of me than that!”
At the time, I was fulfilling all I knew to do. That was the problem. All I knew was not enough. All I knew was to go to church , serve there generously, and read a little devotional at night before I turned in for bed. What more was there? I didn’t know, but I was suspicious there had to be “more”. More attending? More serving? More of me doing something surely?
I began to think of reading the Bible, instead of such a light devotional reading at night. I will admit it was out of sheer obligation and duty I considered this. It is not like I thought I would get much out of it or anything. I mean , what was there to get out of it? It was something to check off my list as being obedient to what I thought I was supposed to do as a Christian. And so I began …….
At first there were no surprises. Dry, dusty reading. Skipping around here and there. No set pattern or plan to how I approached it. Then I heard that my church was going to offer a “Bible study”. I was not sure what it involved, but I was far enough along to know the way I was trying to read the Bible wasn’t working that well for me.
I went to the first class of “Experiencing God” and watched a video of Henry Blackaby teaching about a relationship with God. He was teaching way more about faith in Jesus besides salvation and obedience as a good Christian. He described what the Bible said about a love relationship with a personal and intimate Savior. He shared about his own relationship with Jesus…… and his voice cracked as he described it. That was it. I was hooked! My heart leaped at the thought of it!
I had never heard anything like this before! And I was raised in the church! I was saved by faith in Christ at age 9 and I had heard a lot about being good and obedient as a believer, and working hard to do things for God, but I had not heard of a passionate , personal , intimate relationship with Him. I had not heard that what God wanted most from me was an intimate relationship. And that was the difference! When I had thought surely He wanted more OF me, it was really that He wanted more FOR me!! And the best part was, it was HE that I was to have more of! He was the goal! He was the prize! Not more “doing” or “being”.
The key to all this had been found in the Bible and it had been there all along! Why had I not heard this before? How had I missed out on this wonderful, glorious truth that I could experience a fulfilling , thrilling relationship with an Almighty God on such a personal level? What more did I NOT know that could be just as life altering as this?! I mean, it is life changing to become saved from my sin and have eternal life in heaven with God, but to know there is just as important truth for my time here in this world until that day comes is too good to miss out on.
John 10:10 tells me that Jesus came so that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. Also in Matthew 22 when Jesus is asked about the most important commandment in all the Law , He answers that loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is what is most important. All of a sudden I began to see the imperative, vital importance of reading the Bible for myself! I HAD to know all that I NEEDED to know! What I didn’t know before was robbing me of what is most important for my life here and now. And that scared me to death!
What if I had not taken that Bible study? What if I had just kept reading that short, light devotional and not dug deeper in the Word? What if I had never known the “more ” available to me, and for me? Oh how my life has changed these 23 years and countless Bible studies since then?! I am so grateful to Jesus, THE Author and Perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12), for what He came for in this life, and the one to come!