Crosswalk.com aims to offer the most compelling biblically-based content to Christians on their walk with Jesus. Crosswalk.com is your online destination for all areas of Christian Living – faith, family, fun, and community. Each category is further divided into areas important to you and your Christian faith including Bible study, daily devotions, marriage, parenting, movie reviews, music, news, and more.

Intersection of Life and Faith

<< Our Journey Online with Dr. James MacDonald

Pick It Up - Our Journey Online - March 7, 2016

  • 2016 Mar 07
  • COMMENTS

Our Journey Banner

 

Pick It Up

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night (Psalm 1:1–2, esv).

Let’s take an informal survey. Question: Who’s in favor of reading God’s Word?

Most of us would respond “absolutely.” Reading and studying the Bible on a regular basis is a widely accepted spiritual discipline, and most of us would agree that it’s good for our souls. Yet how easily we turn the freedoms offered by a discipline into guilt-ridden hypocrisy driven by legalism.

It’s like the poor pilgrim who sets out on a quiet time campaign. He’s so motivated at first and feels such a sense of accomplishment as he checks off the days he reads. And then he falls behind on his pace. One day he oversleeps, or he’s sick, or he’s traveling, or . . . and before he knows it, he’s fallen so far behind that he has to do three or four “quiet times” a day in order to catch up. The joy and freedom of the spiritual discipline of reading God’s Word give way to guilt and a sense of being enslaved to a checklist.

Deep down, he might even suspect he’s missing the point. God never said, “Seven days you shall have a quiet time, and you shall not rest from it.” Relationships are regular and intimate, but they are not mechanical. A healthy pattern isn’t rigid. My wife likes to have a date night each week, but if we miss one, she doesn’t hate me. There’s much more at stake in my relationship with my wife and in my relationship with God than slavishly keeping a calendar. Regularity is an important factor but not the whole picture.

So if reading the Bible every single day without fail isn’t a realistic goal for everyone all the time, then what is a healthy goal? Based on my own experience, I’d propose that a person who averages five, solid times in God’s Word each week is growing in his/her faith, but that may look different for you during different seasons in your life. The Scriptures don’t lay out a definite schedule, so the patterns we make for ourselves need to serve the purpose of consistent time with God in His Word. If they become a threat or a discouraging weight, then they are not serving their purpose: to facilitate our growing to love our heavenly Father more and more.

Ultimately, we want to saturate our minds with God’s Word so it can be increasingly true of us that our “delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law [we meditate] day and night.” The goal is saturation, meditation, immersion, growth, and ultimately love—not legalism, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, compulsion, or guilt.

The disciplines of a sincere faith are not intended to be an intimidating obstacle between you and God but a way of deepening intimacy with the One who has called you His child and wants the best for you. And this Book is a gift from God to His children. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.”

The first step in developing a discipline of personal Bible study is to pick it up. We don’t want to get lost in what others say about the Bible; we want to experience it for ourselves.

Journal

  • How have you experienced the tension between the joy of reading God’s Word and the legalism of feeling forced to read at a certain pace or schedule?
  • To what extent do you delight in and meditate on God’s Word, as Psalm 1 describes?

Pray
Father God, forgive me for my self-righteous spiritual programs, trying to prove and grow myself by doing more for You. Replace that ugliness in me with a genuine desire to spend time with You in Your Word. Your Word is a gift to me. Teach me to delight in and meditate on it. Help me to love You more and more, and may that be my motivation in my spiritual disciplines. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

devooffer

Conquering Your Strongholds

All of us have areas of our life that we’d like to change. Maybe it’s your marriage, your business, or your relationship with God. But if we all want to change, why is it so hard? You see, it’s not about yelling louder, trying harder, or being filled with condemnation. It’s all about getting the right mindset, a Godly mindset. And when that happens, long-lasting transformation follows!

Friend, change is not dependent on trying harder. Real change comes when you choose to embrace a Godly mindset because the way you think affects everything. I want to invite you to request the resources below so that you may experience the victory of lasting change in your life beginning today. – James MacDonald

Request your Strongholds teaching booklet and DVD with your gift of any amount to the ministry of Walk in the Word!

 
Archives

Follow Crosswalk.com