Jesus is the most fascinating man who ever lived. He is “the visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), “the exact representation of His being” (Hebrews 1:3), “all of God in a human body” (Colossians 2:9). Jesus said, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30), and, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). So hanging out with Jesus is hanging out with God.
Even though blow-me-away experiences with God can’t be manufactured, it’s within your reach to have personal, consistent communion with God. Perhaps you’ve heard of this distinction between knowing about God and knowing God. Authentic, vibrant faith is based on accurate knowledge about God, sure—but it’s also based on personal experiences with God.
Let’s call these, respectively, theology for the head (truth, knowledge) and doxology for the heart (spirit, communion). We need both. Both are forms of worship. We know this because John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
How does that happen? Since 1988 I’ve read through the Bible every year. Sometimes I follow a Bible reading plan (several plans are available on the Internet). Other times I read different versions of The One Year Bible.
I read the Bible for two reasons: to know about God and to experience communion with God. First and foremost, Christianity is a relationship with the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, who lavish their love on me. When I read the Bible, I am literally spending time with the living God. The Bible, along with prayer, is the gateway to communion with God. I also read the Bible for discipleship—to grow and mature in faith.
If you want to hang out with Jesus, the Bible is the place to start. A friend of mine, John Smith, asked, “What do you think would happen if I offered you ten million dollars to read the Bible from cover to cover over the next year?” Of course you would read it. Well, it’s worth a lot more than ten million dollars. Everything Jesus knew as a man is in there. He said, “I have told you everything the Father told me” (John 15:15). With such an encyclopedic treasure trove of His words—34,450 to be exact—why wouldn’t we want to start there?
Bible reading works best when it’s a habit with a regular time and place. I like early mornings in a favorite chair, and I shoot for five days a week. How long? Some guys spend fifteen minutes a day; some spend two hours—it’s completely up to you. (For more, you can read a free article called “How to Have a Consistent Quiet Time” at www.manalivebook.com.)
Spending time to know God and know about God is central to our discipleship—and it comes with a huge promise. Jesus put it this way: “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32). We’ve all wondered why Christians “stray.” It’s because they don’t invest themselves in remaining faithful to the teachings of Jesus.
Until every church disciples every man...
(excerpt from Man Alive)