Encountering God through Scripture
"O how I love Your Law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine." (Psalm 119:97-98)
"His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night." (Psalm 1:2)
In an ever-increasingly busy world, we seldom have the luxury or free time to just read our Bibles. Our schedules are full of necessary (and sometimes unnecessary) to-do's that set the pace for our whole week. And if you're anything like me, we have to intentionally carve out space to actually spend time in the Word.
For a lot of us, our phones are the biggest distraction. So I want to encourage us to either put it in airplane mode or actually turn it off for our time with the Lord. (I know it sounds simple, but it can be difficult!)
Okay, so we can turn our phones off, but sometimes we can't turn off our brain's to-do list. What do we do then? If your brain keeps bringing up your to-do list while reading, you can grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down any to-do's that pop up. Quietly set it aside and leave it. It will still be there when we are done. If it keeps happening (and it probably will to begin with), just jot down any more reminders on that piece of paper, then ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus on the words you are reading. We may need to ask His help a lot and that's okay! He is willing to help! I promise the more we interact with Him and ask the Holy Spirit to help us, we will find it increasingly easier as the days and weeks go on to focus.
Now that we're actually reading scripture, here are some tools to help us encounter God and stay engaged!
1. Read It - Read and re-read it a few times. Zoom in on key phrases and take note how specific words may be emphasized.
2. Write It - Go ahead and write a particular verse (or verses) exactly how it is written in your bible. Isolate that verse (or verses) and write out any thoughts, insights or revelations that come to mind. We can write and re-write it several times. Writing is a helpful tool that unlocks something in our understanding that reading can't do on its own.
3. Say It - Speak the verse out loud where you can hear yourself. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God," (Romans 10:17). Repeat the scripture and certain words that stand out to you. As we actually say the verse and repeat certain phrases or words, our hearts will begin to connect with the very God who inspired it.
4. Sing It - Okay this may be where I lose you, but stay with me here. Singing is actually a powerful tool that will unlock our hearts unlike any other way. Think about it, reading lyrics to a sad song alone won't necessarily make us feel that emotion. We can understand it, but when we put a melody to those lyrics, it can change our entire mood! It will enter our hearts in a whole other way. It's more powerful than reading, writing and speaking combined. Songs have a completely different influence in our lives and the lives of others. Declaring Bible verses in song impacts our spirit, soul, and body in a dynamic way. And God has ordained that our singing to Him would move His heart too.
5. Pray It - As we find verses that focus on God loving us, His forgiveness, His leadership, His protection and His provision for us, we simply quiet ourselves and thank Him for these things. For example, we might say, “Thank you that You love me, that You forgive me.” We might declare, “I trust that You will lead me and protect me, that You will provide for me." Or if we are reading about obeying God with our speech, make declarations of resolve to obey the Word in this specific way. For example, declare, “I set my heart to love You and obey You with my speech, time, money,” and so forth. Tell the Lord, “I set my heart to love you like David, to endure hardship like Paul, to pray like Daniel . . .” Making sweet resolutions like these to obey the Lord strengthens our hearts.
Whether we read it, write it, say it, sing it or pray it, as we engage the Living Word, Jesus, our hearts and minds will continue to be transformed! Happy reading! (or writing or speaking or singing or praying)