I believe there are three major things that we can proactively do to cultivate our relationship with God. These are things that we should do often, and they are things that if we do them the way God wants us to do them, no one but us and God will even know they are occurring. The things I’m referring to are prayer, Bible reading and fasting. Each one is important, and I would argue that most Christians don’t practice them enough. Let’s take Bible reading as an example. How can we learn about the character of God, his commands, Jesus’ life, and how we are to live without becoming intimately aware of what the Bible says? 2 Timothy 3:16-17 describes the Bible like this:
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
And Hebrews 4:12 says this about the Bible:
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
I encourage you, if you’re not reading the Bible on a regular basis, to begin doing so. Carve out time each day to read a couple of chapters. Don’t like to read? Invest in the spoken Bible as an app on your smartphone or as a CD collection. Is the Bible a little over your head? Invest in a study Bible, or get a devotional series that will walk you through principles of the Bible. Any way you engage the Bible, the Lord can use that time to teach, rebuke, correct and train you, as it says in Second Timothy. It is also the best way we can grow in our faith because the Bible teaches us that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”. In all honesty, I can think of no better way to get to know God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit apart from reading the word of God.
I can’t express how important it is for every believer to become familiar with what the Bible says directly from the Bible itself. If we do, not only can we learn how to live, but we can teach others to do the same. The Bible is the purest written directive to us from the God of all creation. Jesus used the words of the Bible to battle Satan in the desert, and if we know what the Bible says, we can as well because as Hebrews reminds us; the word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword. I’ve read the Bible several times, and even still, each time I read it, God reveals something new to me. The more I read it, the deeper I understand him. And I’m sure any believer reading the word can testify to the same. If you’re new to the Bible, I would encourage you to begin with the New Testament. And if you already know your Bible pretty well, I would challenge you to become a scholar.