When I was in school one of my least favorite subjects was math. As a kid, I didn’t understand the value in learning how to add numbers together or understanding multiplication tables. As I got older the application of the easy math was clear but the hard math seemed even less interesting and had even less value. Then one day the math was so complicated, I got a calculator. A calculator is a useful tool whether you’re adding a string of numbers or trying to tackle some hard algebra or trigonometry. But imagine when I was a kid learning multiplication tables, if my teacher had given me a calculator. I wouldn’t understand the basics of math, I wouldn’t know how to do something we all consider very basic and simple in my head. When you work out the math for yourself on paper you learn it better than if you used a calculator.
If we just learn how to stuff our heads with knowledge we’ll become intellectually “fat”. We know that knowledge alone won’t make us better Christians. We won’t love God more by just knowing more facts about Him. We won’t love our neighbors like Jesus by just understanding that it’s something we “should do”. We need to apply the Bible to our lives. We need to live out the Bible. So today I want to give you some keys to putting God’s word into action, to applying the Scripture to your life.
When you read if you want the Bible to be more than “just another book” then pray that the Spirit illuminate you. Pray that He helps show you what He has for you. Pray that He leads you into the truth. Pray for conviction. Pray for encouragement. Pray for understanding. Pray that the Holy Spirit shows you where and how to apply the Bible to your life.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Meditation sounds like something a monk does from his monastery on top of some mountain. To meditate just means to think something over. To dwell on something. It’s like how the cow eats and digests food. The cow regurgitates its food and chews it again as it digests it. The cow chews it over and over. I know that’s kinda gross but it’s a good analogy for what it means to meditate. I want you to do the same thing as you study God’s Word. I want you to think it over and over.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Ask Good Questions
You can’t overestimate the value of good questions. When reading God’s Word if you want it to be something that will get you thinking about it throughout your day, you’ll need to ask some good questions. When reading God’s Word, try asking some variation of the following questions:
1. What portion of my reading stands out to me?
2. Why was this passage written by the author to the audience of its time? (What did this passage mean to the audience in their context?)
3. How does this passage apply to my life? (What is God trying to communicate to me today?)
4. What does this passage communicate about God’s character or about humans in their sinful condition?
5. What does this passage communicate regarding the bigger picture of God’s Redemptive story? (Where is the fore-shadowing of Jesus?)
Whether you’re rewriting a Scripture passage in your own words or writing out your prayers, the habit of writing/journaling when you’re studying the Bible is a very useful tool to have in your kit. Look at David, he wrote songs about his experiences that brought him closer to God. Some people write out long prayers, thoughts, poems or even make drawings as they think through what they write in the Bible.
When God has made something clear to you it’s important to write it down or to tell your accountability partner. It’s something you’re going to work on, a goal you’ve set or something you’re wanting to do less/more.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
If you want to actually apply what you’ve learned you’ll need to write down or tell your accountability partner what you want to put into practice during the next week. You ask God to help you do what has been laid on your heart and you’ve purposed in your mind to do and then go and do it. Let’s not make half-hearted promises to God. Let’s go walk the walk and not just talk the talk.