You can’t live this life of faith by just reading the Bible a little bit here and there. As I’ve counseled hundreds of believers over the years—many with significant financial, relational, and moral problems—I generally ask them about their intake of God’s Word. The answer is almost always the same: little or no personal devotion or study. Life-change demands that you make every effort to work the truth of God’s Word into your heart. That should be one of your life goals as a believer: to master the contents and truths of the Bible. I know it’s a big book. But if you’re like many people, you are well versed in the nightly news, sports stats, the latest in movies and music, or whatever your special interests happen to be. You probably already know how to be a zealous student of your culture and your times. So why not take some of that energy and attention and apply it to something that matters for eternity?
If Bible reading feels like an item on a to-do list that reminds us how far we’re falling short, it becomes a chore that interrupts our downtime. No wonder it’s so easy to neglect it. But as we learn to make it a conversation with the God of the universe that deepens and directs us, it can become the highlight of our day. And if we supplement that conversation with some study helps, commentaries, and devotionals, it becomes all the richer. Over time, we begin to notice some significant changes in our perspectives, attitudes, and choices.
Immersing yourself in Scripture and choosing to believe what God says about you will radically reorient your thinking. Sadly, too many Christians are trying to overcome their sin by targeting and focusing on their sin. But that’s still a preoccupation with sin, isn’t it? When you keep kicking yourself for your sins, you reinforce them by giving them so much attention. If you see yourself as a helpless sinner, you’ll continue to live that vision out. But God says to consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God (Rom. 6). He says you are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). He replaces your shame with honor, your ashes with beauty, and your mourning with praise (Isa. 61:3). He says He removes your sins as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12) and has canceled out your debts (Col. 2:14). He has given you the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). It can feel really irresponsible not to fixate on your sin—as if you’re failing to police yourself—but doing so lines up with what God says and gives Him and you an opportunity to fill your mind with something else. It’s the only way to break the cycle.
That’s what immersing ourselves in biblical truth can do for us. It doesn’t happen overnight, and there are still some practical steps to take. But spiritual ignorance is not bliss. God wants better for you.
Ingram, Chip. 2021. Yes! You Really Can Change: What to Do When You’re Spiritually Stuck. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
We have just released a new Bible Study based on Chip Ingram’s amazing book, You Really Can Change. These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.