For years, I read my Bible.
And, it didn’t really work. At least not like they said it would.
I think the problem was the why more than the activity. I was reading my Bible out of duty…or, sometimes out of anxiety or necessity. I was treating my Bible as a crutch…a way to please God just enough to get my way. A way to trick Him into giving in to my requests. Ha.
That thought makes me laugh when I say it out loud, but it’s exactly what I was doing.
Maybe, like me, you’ve grown frustrated with reading the Bible and not finding much different in your life. You’ve put in the hours, gave up, and come back to it again…only to again be frustrated with the seeming inadequacy of it all. I have great news. There’s another way to grow closer to God.
Actually, there are lots of other ways.
Here are 5 things to do to grow closer to God (instead of reading your Bible):
1) Make someones day. Over the past few weeks, I’ve met two homeless men. Andy and Kenny have forced me to evaluate the self-involved way that I live my life. They’ve become visual reminders that simple things matter; a handshake, a hug, a warm meal and a laugh. Serving people isn’t about earning bonus points for faith or reputation; it’s about seeing other humans in need of contact with other humans. It’s about understanding that love isn’t convenient and scheduled, but intentional and sometimes impractical. Through loving the afflicted, outcast and forgotten, we uncover the heart of God.
2) Share meals with friends. God created us to be together. I firmly believe that. Our culture has a way of pushing us to be too busy, too pre-occupied to really love the people closest to us. Friendship should be sacred. Find time in your schedule to share a meal with your friends, sans cell phone and stipulations. Eat. Laugh. Talk. Discuss. And laugh more. It’s good for the soul.
3) Don’t pray. Praying has always been difficult for me. I’ve always started out with great intentions, only to find myself stumbling over words and saying half-hearted prayers before I fall asleep. If that’s you…stop praying. Start talking with God. Plead. Wrestle. Share. Ask. Listen. And, switch up your routine if your prayer life is getting predictable. Talk it out loud. Journal. Recite prayers from ancient saints. Go liturgical. Free-style it. Get creative.
4) Do something that you’re made to do. Consistently. I’m most alive when I’m doing three things: speaking, writing, and loving people. I find that when these are lacking in my life, I slip into a bit of depression and anxiety. My prayer life falters. My faith wanes. You’ve been created uniquely to do something unique. You have a gift and and a personality that no one else has. Find ways to do the things you’ve been made to do.
5) Speak the Bible. No, really. I have always had a tendency to read through the Bible in order to get to the next chapter. That’s lame. Take time to proclaim the Scripture in your life. Speak it’s guidance into your heart. Say it’s promises out loud in your struggling times. In your weak moments, claim it’s direction and hope. It sounds a bit weird, but I’ve found that speaking the Bible is as important as reading it.
Growing closer to God isn’t about a formula or a template. It’s about seeking, searching, and being honest. It’s about adventure and risk. It’s about getting outside of our own little worlds to see at much larger Kingdom evolving.
It’s not just about reading your Bible.
Comment below and tell me; what something you do (besides reading your Bible) to grow closer to God?