He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. He said, “You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations—starting from here, from Jerusalem! You’re the first to hear and see it…
Luke 24:45 (MSG)
We need God to help open our understanding and to show us how to read the Bible. We can have a complete life change when we read our Bibles with our hearts, not just our heads. Life changes start with heart changes.
Read to Seek Depth
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. Nothing in all the world can be hidden from God. Everything is clear and lies open before him, and to him we must explain the way we have lived.
Hebrews 4:12-13 (NCV)
The Bible is alive and working! It will cuts into our deepest thoughts and emotions!
Depth is not simple – it’s complex. It’s about having a profound thought or revelation about yourself, and the only way to have that is through the Bible. Nothing is hidden from God. The Bible reveals the truth about who we are.
… But the teaching they heard did not help them, because they heard it but did not accept it with faith
Hebrews 4:2 (NCV)
… “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.
Hebrews 4:7 (NIV)
There are two ways our hearts will respond to the bible: accept or harden. Our response is influenced by whether we want to change or not.
Accept means to embrace who you are, look for more truth, let yourself feel the impact you had on others , you search for reconciliation no matter how it makes you look
Harden means shielding ourselves. Some signs of hardening are:
- We read the Bible, but expect no change
- We make no decisions
- We don’t connect our hearts and what we are experiencing in life, to what we are reading
- We don’t look for relationship reconciliation
- We don’t pray about what we are reading
- We don’t share about what we are learning
When our heart hardens, we lose our faith.
We all face sins that blinds us (pride, bitterness, selfish ambition, unfaithfulness, etc). We all sin and fall short in so many ways, but its what you choose to ‘live in’ determines the condition of our relationship with God. Some of us may feel trapped right now and the only way out is through Jesus – repentance and baptism. We need to have heart-changing bible study to embrace repentance. Repentance is not the enemy, it’s refreshing! God sends you refreshment (Acts 3:19).
Reflect to Seek Repentance
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
Hebrews 5: 11-14 (NIV)
- Understanding God: He wants me to be close and to show me who he really is.
- Understanding Our Heart: My sin and motives have an impact on others – take responsibility.
- Understanding God’s Plan: See the bigger picture and learn to be grateful for the moments I have instead of living in regret for moments I lost.
- Understanding Submission: I’m honest about my desires, dreams and disappointments, but I’m able to embrace a different path.
- Understanding How to Change: Being baptized means to have all my sin forgiven and have a real relationship with God.
Respond to Seek Submission
God had the power to save Jesus from death. And while Jesus was on earth, he begged God with loud crying and tears to save him. He truly worshiped God, and God listened to his prayers. Jesus is God’s own Son, but still he had to suffer before he could learn what it really means to obey God.
Hebrews 5:7-8 (CEV)
Jesus had real feelings and emotions. He had to work through his heart and God’s plan for his life. He worked through his desires and motives and through prayer, chose to submit all of them to do what God desired. He worked through his fears and developed trust in God and His plan. He learned to submit to God and his word.
We don’t like emotions nor emotional relationships and yet all real relationships are emotional. There’s always love, competitiveness, jealousy, anger, fear, bitterness, compassion, and empathy in any relationship.
Reconcile to Seek Repentance
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 5: 11-14 (NIV)
Training yourself to repent involves constant use of the Bible. It’s dealing with bitterness, pride, selfishness, and other sins. It trains us to be righteous in relationships through confession, forgiveness, and taking responsibility.
It also includes memorizing and reflecting on scripture and doing what it says. It’s dealing with our thoughts, excuses, and compromise and choosing to still follow the Bible.
Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case —the things that have to do with salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.
Hebrews 6:9-11 (NIV)
Diligence is needed, not when things are good, but when life hits. Remaining steadfast and un-waivered
Read to Seek Depth – Learn to journal your emotions & sins, and lessons you are learning from scriptures.
Reflect to Seek Understanding – Go and find places outdoors where you can be honest, reflect on what you read and capture the bigger vision God has for your life.
Respond to Seek to Submit – Your times with God should be interactive and engaging.
Reconcile to Seek Repentance – No change happens without clear decisions and taking responsibility.
Relate to Seek to be Vulnerable – Be a walking dialogue about your relationship with God.