A couple years ago I got to share with some women about the word of God. It was thrilling! Not because I had something profound to say but because I passionately believed that I had something life changing. I still believe it. It has and continues to change me.
Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (NIV).
Have you ever eaten something so good you want everyone else to taste it too? The Monte Cristo at Disneyland, and the corn dogs, SO GOOD!
Just like food, this word is delicious and I want everyone to try it. I think that once you try it you will want more. You will taste something so satisfying you desire more and more. And just like Psalm 34:8 says, it is a refuge and a blessing.
The word – the Bible, it’s a book, but also so much more. It’s 66 books/letters written by different authors over 1,500 years. It’s the story of God’s rule and reign and plan. Jen Wilkin has the best description I’ve read in her book Women of the Word when she says:
“From Genesis to Revelation the Bible is telling us about the reign and rule of God…It speaks of creation, fall, redemption and restoration all throughout. It’s populated with different genres of writing – Historical Narrative, Poetry, Wisdom Literature, Law, Prophecy, Parables, Epistles – all conspiring to expand our view of the reign and rule of God.”
She explains that the metanarrative – the comprehensive explanation or guiding theme – illuminates all others themes in a text. So knowing this big story guides and informs all the smaller stories. All of it helps us find the continuity between the God of the NT and the God of the OT. They are all talking about Jesus in some way or another (Wilkins, 53-55).
It’s truth, and a guide. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (NIV). It’s truth and we can believe it. I once heard a preacher on youtube explain why he believed the Bible to be true and I just loved it.
“I choose to believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents, written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies, and they claim to be divine rather than human in origin.” -Voddie Baucham Jr
There are a few reasons why this is important. Being in the word is a way of knowing God and communing with him. John 1:1 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (NIV). The word of God is a revelation of Jesus. Because of this I think it ought to be foundation for life for all Christians. It is in the word that we see, learn and apply the truth, commands, wisdom of God. It should shape our world-view and it should be the truth we cling to.
Ultimately we want Jesus to be what people see – the more that comes in the more He goes out.
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45, NIV).
I just want my heart to be full of Jesus!!!
So, how has it changed my life? In a few ways over time.
First, I grew up watching my parents. They both had a disciplined reading time every morning. Every time I wanted to believe the lie that it was too hard and I couldn’t do it I just had to remember that my ADHD mother and dyslexic father have been reading, studying and living it out for over 35 years. It is possible, it just takes practice. And they didn’t just read it, they have lived lives of obedience and submission to the wisdom and instruction of the word.
I wish I would have grown up following their example but it wasn’t until college when I chose to seek and really submit my whole life to God. Through a girl’s Bible study on campus I started meeting with the leaders and one day when I told her I just didn’t have time she challenged to set my alarm 10 minutes earlier and just get out of bed and read. She said it would change my life. I just did it because she said challenge…CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
God met me and convinced me of his love and grace through his word.
“For the word is alive and active. Sharper than any double edge sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitude of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV).
It never gets old. If you systematically read through the word then there are always fresh revelations because God is faithful and because I’m not in the same spot or circumstances of life I was last time I read this book.
I could relay so many stories of specific times God spoke to me. Sometimes it’s encouragement, sometimes correction, sometimes conviction, sometimes a instruction. Sometimes I read and I don’t hear anything specific but I can rejoice that it is true and that we are simply together and that perhaps the Holy Spirit will remind me of it at a later time when I need it. Either way it is good because it is of God.
So now is the perfect time to start! Life is not going to slow down, it is not going to be easier later. Make it a habit now. My mom always told me that if you don’t make it a habit now it will be harder to squeeze it in later, I’m not sure if she meant in the morning or that time of life, but I think they both apply. If you don’t make a concerted effort then it’s going to be hard to find time later if you don’t make it now.
Also, It’s not impossible; don’t disqualify yourself. If my parents and countless other believers around the world can do it then I am sure our good and gracious God will help you too! How lovely that our God is full of grace and wants to commune with you in His word.
God is faithful and full of grace. We don’t want to be legalistic about it. We do want to practice discipline and exercise diligence but we must remember we are not earning bonus points or love and acceptance. We do it to know Him better. And I believe He will honor our efforts.
“ ‘Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you . You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:12-14, NIV).
So let’s ask God for a desire and hunger, for his word, for his truth, for his very presence.
“But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (Jude 1:20-21, NIV).
To be built up in our most holy faith we need to know who God is. We get that in the word of God. As we read, praying in the Holy Spirit will become second nature to us. I believe the more we’re reading the more we want to be in communication with him about what we’re learning and seeing.
My Prayer is the very words of Paul when he wrote to the to the church at Colossae.
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14
So go, taste, see, enjoy, rejoice!