In this day and age, we have seen the popularity and practice of the Spiritual Disciplines plumit. Sadly, even some Christians have put aside the importance of these practices replacing them with an unbiblical sense of freedom. As a church, I pray this series “Taste and See” continues to spark our love for the Gospel and in addition gives us an urgency for the ways God has provided for us to conform to Christ’s image. Our first message discussed reading and applying the Word of God.
Many of us know the Spiritual Discipline of reading and applying the Bible as a Quiet Time. Different names throughout church history have been used such as the Morning Watch, Personal Devotions, or even an Appointment with God. All of these names if taken in the best light represent what mature Christians should pursue when setting time aside to get in the Bible.
I know, a Quiet Time sounds kind of weird to some. Depending on your upbringing, it could also conjure up sentiments of legalism. But friends, a quiet time is exactly what we need to reflect on the Gospel. We need a time out from regular activities and a time to sit and be with Jesus and his promises. Since the beginning of creation, we have been wired for intimacy and communion with God. The Gospel has made that possible and God’s Word has made that tangible. Jesus died to reconnect us to God. 1 John 1:3-4 states, “what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete”
Jesus also set the example for what communion with God looked like. No, there is not a required time we should pursue but that time should be prioritized. Jesus, though being the Son of God in the flesh sought time to pray. Mark 1:35 tells us, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying.”. We need time set apart to recharge in God. Vance Havner puts it this way, we must set apart before we fall apart.
As you set time aside this week to grow in God’s Word, consider these practical suggestions.
- Orient your heart. Don’t pursue God’s Word with a cold and callous heart. Pray and ask God to open your heart to be receptive to His Word. During this time, it would benefit us to have a respect, reverence, and awe of God’s Word. As I orient my heart, I am reminded of Psalm 63:1 “God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you. I thirst for you; my body faints for you”
- Arrange a time. If we do no set our priorities then someone else will. Pursuing the Spiritual Discipline is not about changing your calendar it’s about changing the orientation of your heart. We should seek the Kingdom of God first and foremost (Matthew 6:33). Set a time when you are most available and most alert.
- Choose a Plan. Pick a Bible reading plan, book of the Bible, or portion of scripture that you will dedicate your time too. For a list of good Bible Reading Plans click here. For suggestions on starting a plan click here.
- Choose Your Tools. Studying God’s Word is like most endeavors of mastery. You must have good tools. I highly recommend a good Study Bible that will introduce the books of the Bible and give succinct notes for better understanding. My favorite options are the CSB Study Bible and the ESV Study Bible. In addition to a good Study Bible, I recommend a notebook or journal to record your observations, insight, prayers, and application.
- Assign Accountability. This step is pivotal. We must open our lives with Gospel transparency. Let people from your family, church, or community group in on your pursuit in God’s Word and let them encourage you. The wisdom of Ecclesiastes calls out “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” (Ecc. 4:9-12).
As you commit yourself to this lifelong journey remember we are commissioned for progress not perfection. Perfection and justification has already been given to us in Jesus. Every failure is met with a fresh new mercy in Jesus Christ. Prayerfully, God’s Word will remind you of his grace and urge you on to indulge yourself in His beautiful promises.
For God’s Glory,