I don’t know how it is with you when you read Scripture, but often my mind wanders.
You know, one second I am reading about Moses on Mt. Sinai, and the very next second I am wondering where my black yoga pants are and why my mail is now being delivered at 3:00 instead of noon! Can I get a witness?
Sometimes focus is hard.
So, here is an easy (and by easy, I mean easy) way to stay focused as you read Scripture.
As you read, keep the 4 C’s in mind — they will serve as guide rails to keep you focused and guard rails to keep you from veering off your path. And, using the 4 C’s will also help you apply what you read.
1. C for Character
When you read a passage from Scripture, ask yourself and the Holy Spirit: “What does this reveal about God’s character?”
It may be a story from the gospels you are reading. If so, it really is easy to see what Jesus says and how He responds to situations — this clearly reveals His character.
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And, if you are reading in the Old Testament — maybe in the Minor or Major Prophets, for example — you get God’s words to His people right from His mouth! You can hear His words of forgiveness. You see when He is patient. You are right there when He holds His people accountable. You get a front row seat to watch His behavior and see His heart. This too clearly reveals His character.
But, even if you are reading through an Epistle in the New Testament with no “red letters” or “thus saith The Lord” verses, the same rule applies. You can see God’s nature and character revealed in the Apostles’ teachings if you open your spiritual eyes and look.
So, whatever you are reading, read with an eye to see God more clearly. And then thank Him and praise Him for who He is.
2. C for Condition
When you read a passage of Scripture, ask yourself and the Holy Spirit: “What does this reveal about the condition of my heart?”
Everything we read in Scripture clues us into the condition of the human heart. For example, as you read about the ten healed men who didn’t thank Jesus in Luke 17, you see their hearts’ conditions and it serves as a mirror to see your own. Am I like the one who returned to say thanks, or like the nine who took their healing then went on their way?
In the Old Testament, you can do the same thing as you read about the Israelites. The point is, people are people! Thousands of years haven’t changed our basic nature and character tendencies.
So, find your own condition in the verses, teachings, and stories you read.
3. C for Change
After you read Scripture, ask yourself and the Holy Spirit: “How do I need to change so the condition of my heart matches up with the character of Christ?”
That’s a simple question, but it requires some hard consideration and prayer. Our goal for studying Scripture is not simply to gain knowledge, but to know God better and become more like Him.
So, as you read and begin to notice God’s character and your condition, ask the Lord to show you if you need to change.
If you only applied three C’s, you would stop here with a spiritual to-do list and probably a heap of guilt or a trifle of pride. That is why there is one last and most important C.
4. C for Communicate
As you are reading Scripture, ask yourself and the Holy Spirit: “Am I taking time to truly communicate with God? Am I listening to Him, thanking Him, and talking to Him, or just rushing through it?”
Communicating with God is the ultimate goal — your reading and study of God’s word lead you to communicate with Him more intimately. Sit and listen to God while you read His word and again after you read it. Don’t just close your Bible and come up with a spiritual strategy of how you will change. Communicate with your Heavenly Father. Thank Him for His character. Let Him remind you of the condition of your heart. Tell Him the areas you feel you need change and listen for His voice. Receive His power to change as He fills you and changes you.
God loves to be with you. He longs for you to hear His voice just as He loves to hear yours.
So, don’t stop discovering His character, the condition of your heart, and communicating with the God who created you!
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This post originally appeared on JenniferRothschild.com and was republished with permission.
Jennifer Rothschild has written 14 books, including the bestseller Lessons I Learned in the Dark and Me, Myself, and Lies. She’s been featured on Good Morning America and Dr. Phil and is the founder of Fresh Grounded Faith events. Jennifer became blind at age 15 and now helps others live beyond limits.