The 18-Inch Gap
by Charmain Hibberd
Marketing Assistant (Writer), CBN Europe
Andrew Bennett, a British Politician, was once famously quoted as saying that “The longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart.” How true do you find this statement to be?
No Ordinary Book
If you are a Christian, you have probably been encouraged along the road of your faith to pick up your Bible on a daily basis and study it for all its worth.
Recently I have noticed that I have slipped into a familiar pattern of just reading the Bible. Like it’s some ordinary, workaday book.
The Bible is no ordinary book, it is not meant to be read just for head knowledge and put down again. The Bible says this about itself:
‘For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’
(Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
Information Or Revelation?
The Bible is our road map for walking this journey of faith. It is a love letter from heaven to earth. It’s a Maker’s manual from God to His people and we need it in order to renew and transform our minds when our minds are barraged with an onslaught of media and noise all day long.
We must make sure that we don’t fall into a familiar pattern of simply reading the Bible for head information.
We need heart revelation.
Have you ever experienced this…?
You’re reading a chapter or verse in the Bible that you have gone over many times before and yet, something is different this time. It’s as if the words are leaping off the page and straight into your heart. It makes sense to you in a way that it never has before.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
If so, this is revelation. This is the living and active Word of God speaking to you because it is just that – living!
All too often, I have treated the Bible as a given part of my life, rather than treasured it as God’s personal words to me. This, I believe, is what causes the vast gap between head and heart.
Words are read and understood with the head and get stuck there.
We need heart revelation.
If you find yourself falling into this trap aswell, may I offer you some tips on how to press ‘refresh’ on your time in the Bible?
- PRAY FIRST. Before approaching a time of reading your Bible, start out in prayer. Ask God to speak directly to your heart. Ask that He would personally reveal what He wants you to know today.
- READ AND LISTEN. Nobody asks a question without pausing and waiting for the answer. This is how 2-way dialogue works. So, read your chosen chapter or verse and listen. Don’t steam ahead, racing to get to the end of your reading plan. God is a speaking God. He does not stand far off and silent. If you are really listening for His voice, He will reveal what He wants you to hear.
- READ AGAIN. Sometimes it takes a few readings before you actually get to the bones of what God is saying to you. Remember, God asks us to seek Him. Sometimes this means multiple attempts at a verse or a chapter, but it is always worth it. Seek and you will find. Chew on His Word and you will be fed. Jeremiah 29:13 says this: ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’
If you are like me, something that can keep you from following these steps is the concern that God won’t speak. And perhaps He won’t. We cannot control or contrive the voice of God. But rest assured, friend, if God wants you to know something, He will make Himself heard.
If God can use a donkey to speak to His people (see Numbers 22:28!), I’m certain that He will speak loud and clear to us.
Listening for the voice of God is a practice. We need to exercise this muscle. For me, I’ve learned that, when God speaks to me, I sense His presence and am often brought to tears by what He says. His Words are kind and gentle and are always exactly what I need to hear.
Take some time to learn how God speaks to you. Perhaps it’s in dreams and visions. Perhaps it’s in pictures. Perhaps it’s in nature or, maybe, it’s through His Word.
I believe that if we can follow the 3 simple steps when approaching the Word of God, we will gain so much more than just head knowledge. We will receive heart revelation and see the 18-inch gap between head and heart close shut with greater ease.
My hope is that, as you read, a steady flow of understanding and knowing will take place. And I pray that your time spent in the Word of God will move from a regimented discipline to a deep joy.