Never Lose the Wonder
- Thursday, April 22, 2004
The first place we need to look to discover more of God is in His Word. Since we are followers of Jesus, the Scriptures must always be close to us. In the psalms we see how David viewed God's Word: "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (119:103); "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" (v. 105). David knew how precious and valuable the Scriptures are. If we want to grow in our understanding of God, we need to feast on His Word and fill our minds with His truth. Sometimes, to sit down and read the Bible takes discipline. It's not always an easy book to read. But we need to delve deep and extend ourselves in studying and reading it.
I'm fairly confident that no one reading this would disagree. Many of us do not need convincing that reading the Bible is a worthwhile thing to do. The issue many of us struggle with is how to read the Bible in order to maintain a sense of wonder. Without creativity, our Bible reading can become legalistic, stale and boring. Here are some suggestions for keeping it fresh:
1. Before reading the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to give you revelation. The most common prayer Paul uttered in his letters to the churches was that they would have more revelation of Jesus. Indeed, Jesus said that one of the main roles of the Holy Spirit would be to take that which is about Him and make it known to you (see John 16:13-14). The Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit, so it follows that it is arrogant to assume you can interpret it without His help.
2. As you read the Bible, turn it into prayer. Talk to Jesus about what you read. Ask Him questions. Thank Him for what He has shown you. Praying the Scriptures is a great way to make them live within your heart.
3. Be creative. Vary the way you read the Bible. Sometimes it's good to read a book of the Bible as you would read a novel. At other times you may want to dwell on and meditate on one verse, one story or one psalm. Sometimes you may want to come back day after day to one passage with the aid of a commentary and study its meaning. It can be very rewarding to take one character in the Bible such as Joseph, Moses, David, or Esther and discover how God dealt with him or her. In order to keep your study from simply becoming theory, always ask God what lessons you can learn from the character's life. Some great books have been written on many of these Bible characters, and you may find the books helpful.
4. Ask a different member of your worship band to prepare a few minutes of simple thoughts on a passage of Scripture to start off each practice.
Alongside reading God's Word, we need to carve out time to listen and wait. In the mad rush of life, quietness and solitude are often neglected. We miss the still, small voice of the Lord. It is essential to make space in our lives to reflect and ponder. We need those places beside quiet waters where our souls can be restored. I love the story of a farmer who went to work shifting hay. While working in the hay barn, he realized that he'd lost his watch. The farmer and his friends spent many hours searching for it, but after a while they gave up and went home. Watching the proceedings was a little boy. After everyone had left, he went into the barn, lay down and waited until there was complete silence. It wasn't long before the faint sound of a ticktock, ticktock could be heard. The boy followed the sound and was able to retrieve the watch.
We need to find those times of quiet. Every day our minds and hearts are filled with the things of this world. Too often the hectic pace of our lives drowns out the still, small voice of God. Learning to listen will fuel our passion for Him.
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