Today is AJ’s 2nd birthday, and let me tell you, he loved him some chocolate cake! He reminds me of the kid from the movie “Matilda,” lol! The funny thing is, AJ is just as happy eating mango kale baby food as he is cake. He likes what’s good for Him and what is sweet.
I want to be like AJ, at least when it comes to spiritual food. Jesus made it clear that life is more than what we experience with five senses and that our spirits need nourishment even more than our bodies do:
But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”–Matthew 4:4 (ESV)
We need God’s Word like we need bread or water or air.
Almost any way we read the Bible is good, but if we’re not careful, it can become more an obligation than a delight. And a delight it should be! We can say with the Psalmist:
“I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.”–Psalms 119:16 (ESV)
It may be black letters on a white page, but Scripture is full of color. Though most of its characters died thousands of years ago, the Word of God is full of life. The 66 books of the Bible include history, poetry, prophecy, parables, and more–almost any genre we could desire.
Even if it were just a book, the Bible is unique in having been penned by about 40 different people over thousands of years. But it’s not just a book. Those 40 people wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is the living Word of God. His Spirit is still speaking through Scripture to us today.
We are wise to realize that the Bible is both kale and chocolate cake. It is necessary nourishment, full of the spiritual vitamins and minerals that we need to sustain us. That’s why it is best to form a daily discipline of Bible reading. (I personally think that consistency matters more than the amount we read.)
God’s Word is also a pleasure to be enjoyed, and we should approach it that way. Like a husband surprising His wife with an unexpected date or a teacher putting a creative twist on her lesson plans. It’s OK to shake up the routine a little!
For the next few posts, I want to focus on studying God’s Word–specifically through exercises that can help us step out of routine and engage with the Bible in a fresh way. I’m not talking about changing Scripture itself–it needs no change–but giving our attitude and expectations a needed jostle. Wherever we are in our journey with Scripture, we can always go deeper. I trust that that when you and I carve out extra time to read the Bible, we will get to know its Author even better.
Day 10 (Bible Reading Exercise #1): While it’s great to read chapters at a time, if this becomes a rut instead of a healthy habit, it might be time to slow down. Sometimes less is more. Try focusing on a single verse and pausing to chew on each individual word.
For example, my kids’ memory verse this week is:
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”–Psalms 46:10 (ESV)
The little ones are only memorizing the first part of the verse. On my own, I paused with each word, asking the Holy Spirit what He wanted to show me today:
BE— be, just be … not do, just be
STILL,— still and quiet on the inside, no matter what’s happening on the outside; still enough to resist impulsive decisions based on fear, quiet enough to hear His voice … even the comma is asking for a pause, a breath
AND— and is a small but important word, because being still is not the end; it leads to something …
KNOW— knowing is what being still leads to; after I have been still, I will know for certain, know without question
THAT— that is like an arrow pointing to what I will know after I have been still
I AM— these two Words together hold power; when Jesus uttered them in the Garden of Gethsemene, the people fell to the ground, stripped of their own power to stand; my power (control) must give way to His power
GOD.— God, a title meant only for Him. He is God, and I am not. He is God, and fear is not. Sickness is not. The economy is not. He alone is God.
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
God, Your Word is a treasure all of the time. It is life to me–when I realize that and when I don’t. Please forgive me for the times I have approached Bible reading with anything less than all of my attention, all of my energy, all of my anticipation. Thank you for nourishing me with Your Word even when I have come to it half-hearted or distracted. I do want my time with You to be fresh and new. Will You lead the way? Help me to follow with all of my heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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