Setting aside time to get into God’s Word is something that all Christians are encouraged to do every day. This time of digesting God’s thoughts and leadings throughout the Bible can be so life-giving…but it could also get to a place in your life where it might be impeding you actually hearing from God when He calls. Shae Bynes walks through the first, foundational step Christians should take as they work to cultivate their relationship with God, and offers sage advice on how to give yourself and your scripture reading time a break so you can truly follow God as He leads through His Word.
You can listen to this entire conversation with Shae on our podcast, Work, Love, Pray! Listen below or click here to find your preferred listening platform.
What would you say to someone who is at the foundational first step of building their relationship with God?
Intimacy with God is everything. It’s through intimacy with God that we actually get rooted in our identity in Him, and then we can operate in every area of our lives from that place of identity and who we are in Him. People often hear me say, “Intimacy is the beginning, the end, and everything in between.” Intimacy is foundational.
This intimacy will look different for everyone, though, so don’t try to put yours in a box. I’m not here to give you a checklist or a blueprint of intimacy with God. I’m here to share a framework of thought around what it looks like to grow in Him. I used to have a “good Christian list” of things to do before I realized there is a whole relational aspect to growing close to God. We live in Him, we move in Him, we have our very being rooted in Him.
The first foundational step for me in cultivating my relationship with God was engaging scripture differently. I used to read scripture almost like an item on a checklist. I was coming from a place of not really engaging God in the scriptures, just making sure that I read them. When I realized this wasn’t helping me grow, I instead began to open my Bible and look at the scripture, and I would actually ask, “Holy Spirit, make this scripture come alive for me. Bring me to a place of understanding of this Word.”
That practice really changed things for me in terms of beginning to have an ear to hear with the Lord. I realized that as I was reading, He was giving me insights that are actually above those pages. He started to talk to me about how something applies in my life. There were even times when I would feel led to go open up another particular translation of a passage to start exploring it and see the depth of what’s happening in that scripture. Instead of just reading my Bible for the achievement of reading it, I began reading it as an opportunity to really engage God.
Another foundational step that I took was to tell myself that if I was serious about seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then I actually need to seek Him first. So instead of starting each day by immediately jumping into a to-do list of things I needed to do in my business, I would actually set aside time for my daily business meetings with God. I would spend time in the scripture, and I would also spend time journaling and pondering things, learning to be quiet and still, and to actually inquire things of the Lord.
I wanted to really capture God’s mind and His heart concerning what I was doing in my career. But I also wanted to capture His mind and heart concerning who I am and how He designed me. That was a lot of dialogue and engaging with God! How did I know that I was hearing God and not just projecting my own ideas and thoughts? He had rooted me so well in the fact that I’m His beloved daughter. I knew He loved me and I knew that He was happy and proud to do life with me. I actually wanted to engage Him instead of taking the posture of “I need 10 confirmations to know if this from God” and being in that place, I would move forward in faith with a leading if it wasn’t counter to the scripture.
This adventure of engaging with God like this began 12 years ago and I’m still like this today. I took the posture of “God says He speaks to me and that I hear Him, so I’m going to move forward and watch how He reveals more. The willingness to take this posture is what really helped me to progress and cultivate confidence that I do hear Him. He is involved in the various aspects of my life, not condensed to my set-aside time that I spend with Him. I live in Him, I work in Him, I move in Him. That only happens when you’re willing to take a step in faith based off of what you believe He’s teaching and showing you.
How much weight does routine study of the scriptures actually hold when it comes to building up your relationship with God?
Studying the scriptures was super foundational in the beginning as part of my process with God. But there would be seasons where I wasn’t going into new scriptures, and would camp out when the Lord led me to. I remember camping out in John 14, 15, and 16 for a long time. As soon as we try to create a blueprint for ourselves of how our spiritual walk or journey should look, we start doing things apart from Him. The blueprint of how you show up and how you engage with Him can be done with Him, so during my time in the scriptures, I don’t have a checklist. If, one day, I’m sitting with Him and I’ve got my business to-do list and I’m asking Him for His thoughts…and we end up spending the whole time dwelling on my business questions, I’m not condemning myself because I didn’t read the scripture. I was engaging with the Living Word.
I’m in the camp of “do all the things with God.” If He wants to camp out somewhere, if He wants to change the subject and be somewhere else with you for a day, go with God. Right. If you’re not rooted in scripture, then you’re missing a fundamental part of growing in Him and understanding His character and nature, and how we engage the world around us. Just be careful to not be so tied to the idea that you HAVE to read the scripture that it leads to the detriment of your willingness to engage the Living Word through the Holy Spirit.
Shae Bynes is a passionate storyteller, mentor, and strategist who equips leaders to be catalysts for transformation in the marketplace.
Known as “Chief Fire Igniter”, she has reached over one million aspiring and current entrepreneurs around the globe through her devotionals, books, courses, podcasts, and more. Her teaching and mentoring provide inspiration and practical strategies for doing business in partnership with God for greater Kingdom influence and impact.
Shae co-founded the Kingdom Driven Entrepreneur movement in 2012 and her most popular book Grace Over Grind: How Grace Will Take Your Business Where Grinding Can’t is shifting the way people live, work, and engage the world around them. Whether she is sharing on platforms publicly or consulting privately, you can expect Shae to deliver an abundance of truth with love, grace, and contagious joy.
Shae holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Masters of Business Administration from the University of South Florida and University of Florida respectively.
Shae has been married to her husband Phil for 23 years and is mom to three beautiful daughters. She has a healthy addiction to sunshine and water and calls the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area her home.