“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” – Hebrews 4:12
Question for the day: “How does God speak to you through His Word?”
In this last month, we have discussed so many of the different ways that God speaks with us. I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing your stories and expanding my understanding of God’s “voice.” But today is a special day for me, in that, I would like to talk about the most powerful way that He speaks with me: the Word.
I first began reading the Bible at the age of 31. And from the very first moment, it has been the single-most transformative thing I have ever done. It has given me a glimpse of the nature of God, it has introduced me intimately to my Savior, Jesus Christ, and it has instructed me in the ways I should live my life.
And the exciting thing is, I have only absorbed a tiny fraction of it! This living document is capable of changing me from the inside out, every day, for the rest of my life. The only requirement is that I open myself up to it.
One of the reasons, I believe, that it is such a transforming experience for me, is the way in which I read the Bible. Like many of you, I assume, I was conditioned all my life to “read for information.” That is, read with an attitude of remembering the key information and retaining the overall message.
However, I would challenge everyone seeking a personal relationship with Christ, to approach the Bible in a very different manner. Instead of reading for “information,” consider reading for “transformation.” Instead of reading to learn “about God,” seek to “know God.” Or as we say at Liberty Crossings, “we do not seek head knowledge of the Savior, we seek heart knowledge.”
One way of doing this that I have found most effective, is an ancient form of study called, Lectio Divina, or Sacred Reading. Here’s how you begin:
1. Pick a small section of scripture (no more than 8 -12 verses, or it could be only 1 – we are striving for quality not quantity)
2. Read it slowly. Ask yourself the question, “What words, phrases, or ideas stick out to me?”
3. Read it again. Sit for a few minutes thinking about what it actually means. Ask yourself, “What might God be saying here?”
4. Read it again. Give yourself a few moments to reflect on the question, “What is God saying directly to me through this passage?”
5. Read it again. Ask yourself, “What is my response to it?”
I have never seen anyone that was not completely transformed by this process. It may seem very tedious at first, but I have found that this method has helped me grow in 2 very powerful ways: 1. It helps me to truly memorize scripture; 2. It helps me to own scripture in the midst of my circumstances – It becomes a part of me. It is powerful.
If you are looking for a place to begin, may I recommend Bible Gateway? This is a free online Bible source. Bible Gateway also has a wonderful service called “Reading Plans.” Here is how I use it. I have the free app on my phone and iPad. I have subscribed to the reading plan that appeals to me (there are several to choose from.) Each day, at a time I chose, my reading pops up on my screen as a reminder. I don’t even have to remember to do it. How easy is that? It is a great way to keep me structured (I definitely need that!) And it is great because I get to choose the translation that best suites me. I highly recommend it.
Praise be to You, Oh God! For You have chosen to reveal Yourself to us in so many ways that we can understand. Thank You for the revelation of Your Word. Thank you for providing me with a road map for this journey called life. And thank You for giving me free and unfettered access at any time that I choose.
I confess that I have not treasured the Bible as I should. And I have not been as faithful to read it as I should. Please help me with that. Please create in my heart a desire to know You more deeply. Fill me with a hunger and thirst for Your Word that seeks to be filled each day. And as I encounter You in scripture, open my eyes to what You have for me. Help me to read with discernment and wisdom fueled by the Holy Spirit. Help my heart to be transformed into Your image, by the power of Your words.
In the name of Jesus I pray,