Following the Lord Jesus Christ is an individual matter, but it is not individualistic. Let me explain. When we say that discipleship is an individual matter, we are saying that it is something the individual must do. No one can follow Jesus for you. Your husband cannot be your proxy. Your children cannot read the Bible for you, pray for you, obey the Lord for you. You must do these things for yourself, and if you do not do them, you are no true disciple. Individualism is something different.

Suppose we do pursue regular, personal Bible study and prayer? Suppose we do earnestly seek to know the mind of our Savior and obediently follow where he leads? What do we find then? Some would say that we discover a dull monotony of life or at best a list of rules to follow duly, but those who have actually followed Christ find something different. They find freedom from self which is an amazing form of liberty.

We are focusing on how to do systematic study of the Bible, and another aspect is the study of key words. Begin by looking at other passages in the same book in which the word occurs. You can find these by your own reading or by using a concordance in which verses containing a given word are listed. Simple concordances are in the back of many Bibles.

If you have been called by Christ and therefore sincerely want to hear his voice as he speaks to you through the Bible, you should do the following: First, you should study the Bible daily (Acts 17:11). We can study the Bible more than once each day, of course, and there may be some days when legitimate concerns consume the time we would normally spend studying. But we should discipline our lives to include a normal, daily period of Bible study, just as we would discipline ourselves to have regular periods for sleep, brushing our teeth, meals, and so on.

Several years ago, when I was in northern California, I turned on the radio and heard part of an unusual religious program. It was called "Have You Had a Spiritual Experience?" and was conducted like a call-in talk show. A phone number was given, and listeners were invited to describe their "spiritual experience" over the air.