In the groundbreaking book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Kerry Patterson and his colleagues determined that we must examine what is going on inside our thoughts and emotions in order to successfully navigate conversations that very well may change our life.
Start with Heart.
When we read the bible we are participating in a conversation with God. Reading the Bible is where we get to hear what God himself has to say. The Bible is not designed to be a textbook, or just a guide book for life. The Bible is God’s words about his heart and ours. When we listen to God’s words and connect what we are hearing to our heart, then we are having a life changing conversation. Life changing conversations require we make a connection.
God’s word is alive and working and is sharper than a double-edged sword. It cuts all the way into us, where the soul and the spirit are joined, to the center of our joints and bones. And it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts.
Hebrews 3:12 NCV
1. Make the connection to your emotions.
The Bible is relevant because it describes, evaluates, and assesses our hearts. When we can describe, evaluate and assess our heart condition then we can connect with God when we read the bible. This connection with God happens when we are able to relate to a character described in the bible or by feeling a passage come alive. Some of us struggle reading our bible because we are not in touch with our emotions and therefore cannot understand the conversation God is trying to have with us.
2. Make the connection to your thoughts.
Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.
Proverbs 4:23 ERV
Our thoughts impact our ability to have a life changing conversation with God. Many times, it’s the things we’re thinking that are the best indicator of the quality of our relationships and the state of our emotional and spiritual health. Not everything we think is healthy or productive to our spiritual and emotional well being. Being aware of what is occupying our mind provides us with the ability to allow the scriptures to influence our thinking. Listening to God requires reading and absorbing what we are reading. Memorizing scripture and thinking about what God communicates to us helps us replace unhealthy thinking with what God is thinking and communicating.
3. Make the connection to the implications.
If we let the Bible tell us what God thinks and feels about our thoughts and our emotions, we may have to face some hard truths. For example, maybe selfish ambition is what’s causing so much disorder and chaos in our family. Maybe bitterness and cynicism are why we have such a hard time finding a loving life partner. The Bible will change us only as much as we are willing to face, digest, and respond to the truth about our emotions and our thoughts. Start with heart and make the connection.