Sometimes a fresh look at the obvious yields a bombshell. At age 20, my life was crushed and rebuilt by one small challenge. Could it change yours as well?
For fifteen years as I speak and travel talking to people about my conversion to Christianity. I have been issuing the same challenge that I was given to people all over the world:
Read the Bible like a child.
Even Jesus said, “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” But what does that mean? Whether someone is a non-believer, new believer, or a seasoned follower of Christ, the Word of God is essential
—it is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.”
How did reading the Bible like a child change me? I was raised in a loving home as a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon). My family and I faithfully attended church every week, prayed together, read the LDS Scriptures, and strove
—throughout every aspect of our lives—
to live out the tenants of our religion. I had a zeal for God through obedience to the laws and ordinances of our church. Despite my piety, I had no understanding of the saving Gospel of Christ.
Yet, I longed for intimacy with God.
I pined for His love and forgiveness. I wanted to demonstrate my love for Him by obeying the commandments of my religion, hoping that I could establish my own righteousness by my works. However, since I trusted the leaders of my religion to teach me what was true, even when I read the Bible, I saw its teachings through the lens of the church to which I belonged. I had pre-conceived notions.
I think there is a key benefit from approaching the Bible through the eyes of a child. For me, reading the Bible for the Bible itself removed all of my pre-conceived notions
Often, we approach truth based on a pre-supposition.
We see God, Jesus, or the Bible through the lens of our own personal experience—whether cultural, religious, or other. As we grow older, we become more entrenched in our views and less moldable. To read the Bible like a child means to remove these pre-conceived notions about who God is, who Jesus is, and what truth is, seeing the Word of God with fresh eyes, as if reading it for the first time. We must allow God, through the Holy Spirit, to show us truth. As it says in Psalms, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
At age 19, I embarked on a two-year mission trip for the LDS Church.
Just months into my mission, I fervently confronted a Baptist minister with the intention of converting him to my religion. In response, this pastor lovingly shared the biblical Gospel with me for the first time in my life, boldly witnessing of the salvation that comes by grace through faith, and not by works.
At the conclusion of our encounter, this Christian minister challenged me to read the Bible as a child, promising me that if I would, my eyes would be opened and my life would change forever.
That summer day changed the trajectory of my life. God planted a seed of the Gospel in my heart and then grew that seed through the water of His Word. As I approached God in humility, I began to see the true Gospel.
My challenge to you is what the wise pastor asked me years ago – pick up the Bible, remove your preconceived notions and see what God will do. His Word is powerful.
By Micah Wilder