My wife and I are truly blessed to have three beautiful daughters, ages 20, 16 and 7. It is incredible to see how quickly they grow up. Even our seven-year-old, who at times can be very demanding, seems to be growing so quickly.
Are we growing in the Lord? Without God’s word can we? Really though who has time to study? How can I add one more thing to my already overcrowded day? Don't worry, this article is not intended to cause you guilt, instead, I hope to offer a few words of encouragement.
As Christians, we are not going to grow in the Lord apart from God’s word.
And if we are relying on one hour a week (Sunday mornings) we are starving ourselves. Jesus says that we do not survive on bread alone “…but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4b). Can we expect to grow in the Lord while at the same time we limit our time in His Word? The Lord speaks to us today through His word (Heb. 1:2) and if we desire to grow in the Lord we need to spend time listening to and being with Him.
THERE WILL BE DISTRACTIONS
I know we are busy! I will admit, I struggle with the discipline and persistence required to develop a consistent time of personal study in God’s Word. Something seems to always come up to distract me. Our cat, our children, work and yes even the kitchen sink may fall through the counter every once and awhile. (Only at our house!) However, if something is important we will carve out the time. We can often tell what we value when we examine how we spend our time. Where is our time spent? How many of us let daily distractions keep us from eating? Most often we will find the time to eat! It’s important!
ME MOVING CLOSER TO GOD
Our study of God’s word should not be a grind.
Here’s what I mean: What is our attitude and purpose for studying God’s word? Are we studying for facts and knowledge only? Studying for the facts or to increase our knowledge of God is not in itself a bad reason to study. But if our study is solely to acquire knowledge, I think we miss the purpose of spending time in personal study. I was recently listening to a podcast from TheLightNetwork.tv where Adam Faughn expressed the following when talking about our personal study time. This time is about “me drawing closer to God”. Think about that for a minute. That really resonated with me and I hope it resonates with you as well. Our personal study time is not just about fulfilling our responsibility in the Lord (2 Timothy 2:15) although this is important. It’s not just about gaining knowledge although I am not suggesting this to be a wrong motive. It’s about growth and I grow when I move closer to God.
SO WHERE TO START
If you are like me and need to increase your personal study time, consider these few suggestions as you start moving closer to God.
1. Make time - We need the word of the Lord for our growth and sustenance. If this is important, we will make the time. Distractions will always come up but there is not a substitute for this time. What we value, we will make time for. So set your personal study in God’s word as a priority. You may even make an appointment with yourself on your calendar, I do!
2. Take the pressure off - Here is the thing, if we are studying to move closer to God, it’s not about the time or completing a checkbox or even a certain number of verses or chapters. It’s about spending time with Him! Things will come up and we may not be able to have this time every day. However, when we make it about absorbing God’s word and moving closer to Him, we will grow. Ask questions of the text such as how did this apply to the hearers at the time? How would this apply in my life today? How can I implement what God’s word is teaching me today? In my opinion, it would be better to absorb a few verses than to read a few chapters and miss what the Lord is saying to us.
3. Hinge with prayer - The Lord speaks to us through His word and we speak to Him in prayer. Prayer will facilitate our communication and keep us from just reading to gain information or knowledge. It will help us grow as we move closer to God.
I hope you, like me, will be encouraged to spend more time in God’s word and to move closer to Him. Even with our busy, overcrowded lives, there is no substitute for this time.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas
Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Adam Faughn - A Legacy of Faith