There are four things you must do every day if you want to live a successful Christian life, and none of them involve giving money! Let me explain.
I began reading books when I was two years old. Does anyone else remember the first book I read, The Little Engine That Could? Reading became my window into the world. So it was only natural that, years later when I responded to the Lord’s invitation to salvation, I set a goal of reading every new Christian book published each year. I thought that would bring me closer to God.
When I checked with a librarian, she told me that there were more than 30,000 Christian books being published that year alone, which meant that I would have to read more than 80 books a day just to keep up. In recent years, there are perhaps 100,000 Christian titles being published annually. And those are just the English-language books. Obviously, my plan was unrealistic and I quickly abandoned it, which meant that I had to come up with a new plan. So, I did.
I decided that I would put all of my energy and attention into reading the Bible itself, to see firsthand what God has revealed for me to know. It took me several weeks to read the entire Bible the first time, starting with the Book of Genesis and reading straight through to Revelation (that’s all I did, read the Bible day and night). That initial quick read-through gave me something important, an overview of the unfolding story of redemption progressively revealed in the pages of the Old and New Testaments. I then began a more deliberate reading, completing the entire Bible many times.
As one reads the sacred text, one naturally begins to pray, especially for understanding. Prayer for understanding goes hand in hand with reading the Bible, relying on the promise from God to reward those who diligently seek him (Heb. 11:6), and he always keeps that promise. Over the years, as I have continued to focus my reading on the biblical text, I have also read selected commentaries written by men of God who have been given special insight on particular portions of the Bible. However, I always come back to the Bible as my anchor; everything else is essentially opinion.
That brings me to the point of this article. Living a successful Christian life is not a complicated affair, that is, if “successful” is defined as becoming the person God wants you to be at the same time you are becoming the person that you want to be. As you grow with body, mind, and spirit in the Lord, the two goals will eventually be one and the same.
Be assured, one does not need to study in a theological seminary to be a knowledgeable Christian, one does not need to have read hundreds of Bible commentaries and books to understand the primary message of the Bible, and, with the many excellent native-language translations available today, one does not even need to know the Hebrew and Greek of the Bible to be able to understand what God has said.
No, living a successful Christian life is based on a simple on-going conversation between you and God on a daily basis (or more accurately, on a minute-by-minute basis). By virtue of being saved and one with Jesus the Son of God, you can talk to God the Father in prayer at any time, and from heaven God the Father talks to you through the Scriptures.
God the Holy Spirit transmits your prayers as a believer to God the Father in the name of Jesus, the Son of God, and explains His thoughts to you through the Scriptures as you converse with one another. So, there it is. Read and heed the words of the Bible and talk to God in prayer giving praise and making supplication. Assuming that you want to be obedient to God by doing what he says, that’s really all there is to it. Try it. God’s presence will be with you and His blessing will be constantly on you as you do. (John 14:23-26)
This link will take you to the Ligonier Ministries “Bible Reading Plans” page. You can download one of the PDF files and print out a plan to help you keep track of your daily study and meditation on the Word of God.