“You seem to get a lot out of the time you spend reading the Bible,” I commented to Stan one morning. “Has it always been that way?”
Stan laughed. “Absolutely not!” he exclaimed. “As I look back on how I approached the Bible, it was with no or very low expectations, and I got exactly what I expected!”
“You didn’t expect much,” I commented, “and that’s what you got.”
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “Only when I began approaching God and His word with the expectation that He had much for me to see and hear, it was only then that I began to see and to hear.”
“And how did that happen?” I asked.
“For me it was little by little,” Stan replied. “At one point soon after I became a Christian, I undertook to read the whole Bible in a year. I followed the plan and made it through on schedule, but I have to admit I didn’t get a whole lot out of what I was reading.”
“More like a race through the Bible to get done on time?” I asked.
“You could say that,” Stan replied. “I expected that if I followed the plan, I would get through the Bible in a year. And that’s what happened. I got through it. I met my expectation.”
Continuing, he added, “While I think that reading through the Bible like that is a good way to get an overview of the whole thing, for me it wasn’t until I started focusing on the Bible with the expectation of being shown what God had for me, it was only then that a different expectation began to be met.”
“Began to be met?” I said. “Not met?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And for me it’s the same thing regardless of how many times I’ve been through the Bible. If I’m open to being shown what God has for me, if I expect to be shown, I will be shown. The Bible is the life-giving Word of God that takes me deeper and deeper in my knowledge and understanding of God in a personal relationship.”
“Maybe,” I responded, “that’s why Jesus said that eternal life is about knowing Him and God the Father.”
“You could be right,” my friend,” Stan replied. “And it seems to me that if I expect to know God the Father and Jesus the Son in an ever-deepening way, my expectation will be met if I take the right approach.”
“And how do you do that?” I asked.
“Each day,” Stan replied, “as I come before God, I pray and ask Him to open me to see all He has for me to see in His Word. And I ask Him to open my spiritual ears to hear all He has for me to hear.”
“And,” he added, “I expect Him to answer my prayers. And He does!”
Bible verses to consider:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. John 10:10.
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.
This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you have provided all I need to know you in an ever-deepening relationship. You have given me your written word in the Bible. You have given me the Holy Spirit who is in me to help me know you as you intend. I confess that too often my expectations of knowing you and what you have for me are too low and I do not come before you with the expectation that you will show and tell me all you have for me. Please forgive that foolish approach (or non-approach) to knowing you. Please, Father, help me to follow every step of your lead into the deepest possible relationship with you, the relationship you intend for me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you know God for eternal purposes in the sense that you have accepted His free and gracious gift of life eternally with Him when it’s time? If no, why? What is standing in the way? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing in knowing God while you wait to step into eternity? Do you open God’s Word with the expectation He will show you exactly what He has for you? If you sense changes are needed in how you approach God, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?