(Photo by Maylin Rowe)
Connecting with God
By Kyle Jane Heskett
Where to begin? Inductive study, topical study, different commentary authors, it all seems so overwhelming! With the multiple resources used to study the Bible, we can easily get bogged down with trying to find the right way to study and forget that studying God’s word is not supposed to be about following strict outlines. It’s about enjoying the presence of God.
If you are a believer, God lives inside of you through the Holy Spirit. He is always with you and will never abandon you. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that and enjoy his presence. That’s why Bible study is so important. It helps us connect with God and grow in faith, joy, and love. Some of my favorite verses in the Bible that so beautifully grasp what God’s presence feels like come from the book of Psalms. King David, the author of most of the Psalms, was no stranger to trials. He faced Saul’s plan to destroy him, the death of his child, the suffering of many members of his family, and enemies that sought to kill him! But even in times of great trial, David was still able to rest in the Lord’s presence.
“You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
-Psalm 16:11 (NASB)
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
-Psalm 4:8 (NASB)
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing…”
-Psalm 30:11 (NASB)
The presence of God can provide peace, joy, rest, and so much more. That is what spending time with God is all about- understanding, experiencing, and worshiping Him. There are many ways to do this, and whether that be an in depth study, prayer, song or dance, all are important and valid. Find a way that works for you!
With that being said, you still may have a hard time getting started. That is OK! I had a hard time enjoying Bible study for years simply because I couldn’t find a method that worked for me. After a recent trip to Germany with my church, my pastor led us in a time of study that helped me grow. If you feel led to, you can give it a try!
Start off by listening to two worship songs, just to help you step away from any distractions and get in the right mindset. I personally like listening to songs by Bethel, Hillsong, or Chris Tomlin. Next, select a passage to read. It doesn’t matter what it is and it can be as short or as long as you like. I recently went through the book of Mark, focusing on one chapter a day. After reading the passage, journal a summary of what happened or what the passage was about. Then journal your answers to these next three questions:
- What does this passage say about God, what He does or who He is?
- What does this passage say about people, what they did and who they are?
- How am I going to respond to this passage today specifically and generally in my life?
These questions seem simple compared to other in depth studies but you may be surprised by how powerful they are and how much they make you think. I know I was! If you are interested in a more inductive and in depth approach to the Bible, sermons by pastors Chuck Smith and Jon Courson are some of my favorites. Beth Moore is another person I like to listen to, and sometimes it’s nice to get a woman’s perspective.
You may find that other methods help you better connect with God and that is great but focus on enjoying the Lord and simply getting to know Him. Be open to wherever the Holy Spirit leads you. He wants to spend time with you and wants to speak into your life. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for me with all your heart.” (NASB) God doesn’t need you to be perfect, planning every second of every study. He just wants you.