Reading and Reflecting on God’s Word
For Christmas, my family drove 18 hours north to Walla Walla Washington. It was a beautiful white Christmas! While there I asked an important question of my mother in law in front of my kids so they could hear what she said. I asked, “what has kept you strong in your faith in Christ all these years?” She said without hesitation, “reading the Bible daily.”
A number of years ago I asked my brother in law why he was so strong in his faith in Christ even though he is a Ph.D. in physics and went through the atheist training of the university. Without hesitation, he said, “because growing up I saw my dad reading his Bible every morning.”
Remembering these stories compels me to want to be in God’s word daily for myself and for my kids. In addition to this, what compels me to read and reflect on God’s word daily are the many promises in God’s word of what his word does in our lives if we are in his word regularly. Let me share just 8 of the things God’s word does within us (most of the 8 are summarized in Psalm 19 and Psalm 119):
Scripture revives us. Psalm 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul.” The message of the Bible revives us and refreshes us. When I feel guilty or ashamed, the Bible reminds me that in Jesus, I’m totally forgiven. When I feel anxious, God’s word calms me down. When I feel discouraged, the Bible encourages me. Does anyone here need to be refreshed and restored by God? = Then get into God’s word daily and trust it’s truths.
1. The Bible makes us wise. Psalm 19:7 says, “The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” Psalm 119:98 “Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.” God’s word makes us wise. God’s word prepares us to deal with the challenges and confusing situations that this world throws at us. Do you need God’s wisdom? Let God’s word get into your heart and mind daily.
2. God’s Word gives us great joy. Psalm 19:8 says, “the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart.” Would you like more joy in your heart and soul? You don’t need to find joy in the immoral, self-gratifying things of this world. If you’re in God’s word daily and it’s in you, you will have more joy than the things of this world can give you. The things of this world give us joy for a moment, but then they result in guilt, shame, and emptiness.
3. The Bible gives us understanding. Psalm 19:8 says, “the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” The Bible enlightens us about who God is, what our identity is in Christ, how to have a relationship with him, understanding what’s right and wrong.
4. The Bible helps us to turn away from sin. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” God’s word tells us what is wrong, often tells us why it is sinful and warns us of the pain and devastation sin and selfishness cause. It reminds us to stay on the straight path instead of falling off the cliff of our lusts, pride, and desires.
5. Similarly, The Bible convicts us of our guilt. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” We don’t always like feeling guilty for our sin, but it’s essential in order to turn away from sin and to please God.
6. Scripture gives us peace. Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.” Would you like to experience more peace in your heart, mind, and soul? Know and trust the Scriptures.
7. God’s word strengthens our faith in God. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Would you like to have a stronger faith in Christ? Listen to his Scriptures.
Wow! Praise God for the wonderful things his word does within us!
Now the question is, how can we get into God’s word consistently? Let me give you 5 key ways:
1. Pray for it – Pray for a heart to want to read the Bible daily. Pray for the discipline to follow through.
2. Schedule it – Look at your week. Determine what times you can sit down and read God’s word. Then guard that time as much as you’d guard your time with your favorite person or favorite hobby.
3. Determine the Scriptures – Come up with a game plan for what you will read. A great place to start is to read the daily Scriptures on the church bookmark. Or you can buy a daily Bible that brings you through the Bible in a year. Or you can read a chapter of the Old Testament and a chapter of the New Testament daily.
4. Get Accountability – Read it with a family member or with your whole family. Commit with your Life Group to read the same Scriptures daily. Join a P215 Men’s Group and read the Scriptures your group selects. We need each other.
5. Stick with it – Some days you don’t feel like reading God’s word. Some days you get so busy or tired. Ask God for strength and for the desire to get into his word and go for it. Don’t give up. Press on. You’ll find that it will be worth it.