Spiritual Discipline 101: The Word of God
All other spiritual disciplines find their foundation in the word of God. It is the word of God that anchors our faith in God. Scripture tells us in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” We also observe in Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Without a doubt, our relationship with God is impacted by our spiritual discipline to regularly engage with the bible.
As we desire to offer authentic lives of worship unto God, it is so important to allow scripture to inform and define how we live out our journey. The holy bible is God’s precious gift given to us as the official road map to navigate life. There are several ways we can practice making scripture priority and spend some of our daily devotional time interacting with the bible. Here are some practical ways to intake God’s word in your life:
1. Read the Word. I realize this may seem extremely basic. However, I have discovered that many Christians proclaim a faith in God with great biblical illiteracy. Some time ago, I challenged myself to read through the bible in one year because I decided I did not want to die, go to heaven, and not have the testimony of knowing the very thing I claimed to base my whole life upon. Even if it is only a chapter per day, don’t stop reading the bible. Reading the bible produces familiarity. Even if you don’t quite understand all you are reading, keep reading. It is helping you in the long run to create more capacity and build a deeper understanding as you shift to studying scripture purposefully.
2. Study the Word. Studying scripture is the intentional, purposeful approach to understanding the bible. For example, this can be done as part of a bible study class or group when you are systematically examining a particular book of the bible. Studying scripture in this context requires long term commitment and careful attention to details. This meticulous method occurs slowly so that you can dig deep and wide into your study. Although this can be done individually, studying with a group may provide extra accountability in maintaining discipline.
3. Write the Word. In other words, journal or take hand notes of scripture. This is something I like to practice with note (index) cards. If there is a particular scripture I am clinging to, God will often prompt me to write it out and keep it nearby. The process of writing is mechanical, but it also has a positive impact upon us cognitively. As we write, our brains are receiving the truth of God’s word, which impacts our thinking and memory.
4. Memorize the Word. Speaking of memory, practice memorizing scripture. This is a great way to personalize God’s word. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.” There are times we will need to remember God’s word and will not always be in a situation to pull out our bibles or bible apps on the phone. When we memorize scripture, we have the comfort of God’s word being deeply rooted within us.
5. Meditate on the Word. Meditation involves deliberate focus and reflection on scripture. When we meditate we internalize the meaning of scripture. There is a level of repetitiveness and intensity involved in giving complete attention to the particular passage we are meditating upon.
6. Hear the Word. With all of the modern technology we have access to, listening to the word of God is only one tap or click away. Consider listening to the word using an audio bible app. Of course, listening to the word of God by hearing it proclaimed or preached in real-time is always invaluable.
7. Speak the Word. There is power in hearing yourself recite or read scripture. The more we confess God’s word, the stronger and closer we become in our relationship with him. Take the time to confess out loud God’s word every day. Speaking the word causes our speech and thoughts to be in agreement and alignment with God’s precepts and promises for our lives.