A couple of posts ago, I gave advice on how to start reading scripture. The advice was pragmatic: find a comfortable place to read, and make time every day. My advice moving forward is more ephemeral.
As you start reading, pray that God speaks into your life. I typically pray that Holy Spirit come and be present with me: that He guide me, lead me, change me, and grow me. When you do so, you are asking the Holy Spirit to reveal things to you that you have never before seen, or that, perhaps, you have seen, but forgotten. Only God has this power. How can an already Christ-committed person have his whole life transformed by the reading of the word, while a skeptic can read the entire bible over and over again and only grow harder towards God? The answer is God and His Holy Spirit.
The Bible that you have is only a bunch of words on a page. Yes, they were inspired by God when they were first put to paper, but there is nothing magical about the book . Thus, if a skeptic reads the word with a hard heart, unwilling to listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit who longs to commune with Him, then he will gain nothing from the reading of those words. There are cool stories of people studying the gospel with the sole purpose of proving it false, only to discover that God is in fact very real and His Son did in fact lay down his life for them. But again, this is the Holy Spirit at work.
The words themselves have no power. But when those same words are delivered by the Holy Spirit directly to you, they can and will change your life.
God is very gentle. He will not force His way into your life. He wants you to freely choose Him. And then He wants you to turn over more and more of your life to Him, inviting Him into every nook and cranny. But He won’t force His way in. Thus it is of the utmost importance that you invite Him into the time that you are spending in His Word and that you ask for Him to show you things. Check your heart. Is there a part of your life that you really don’t want to let Him into? You might be blocking Him from the very things He’s wanting to show you. He’ll work with you wherever you’re willing, but I suggest that you really submit yourself to Him in these times. Give him free reign to speak to you about anything that He will.
When you do so…then you’re ready.
Someone you know and care about should be hearing from God. Pass this post along, and help it happen.