Read His Words Before Ours!
“For the word of God is living and effective
and sharper than any double-edged sword,
penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow.
It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
When was the last time you found this to be true in your life?
When did the Word last come alive and resonate within you?
At that one retreat?
I believe God intended us to experience great, intimate, things with Him through His Word. His Scriptures are anything but dry, though sometimes we can feel that way.
I know because I’ve experienced both dry and alive throughout my journey with the Lord. Often times His Word comes alive to me when I am in a dry place.
During one particularly dark season of life, the Bible became my flashlight guiding the way. I truly could not have navigated that time without the Word; God’s voice through verses spoke life to my weary heart.
When I’m dry, I’m desperate to hear from the Lord; I expect Him to speak. That particular dry period, sparked a genuine love for the Word of God.
But in the “normal, everyday”, I fully admit I can find myself reading the Word
with no expectation to experience a Hebrews 4:12 reality.
In many ways, I’d forgotten what it was like to engage with the Word
rather than simply read it.
The Lord reminded me of the power of His Word at a recent retreat where we spent some time dwelling in the Bible. We picked a portion of Scripture and read it with intentionality.
Phones were put away.
Other distractions were removed.
Our gaze rested solidly on our Bibles open before us.
This was not a quick read through the Word in order to cross “Reading the Bible” off my checklist for the day.
(Please tell me I am not the only one who has fallen into that trap recently!)
We started our time with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to open our understanding and breathe His own life into us as we engaged His Word.
With that we began.
Now I could explain the process we used, but I am much more of a visual learner.
In case you are a bit like me, let’s do this together.
Pick a Scripture you want to focus on. Start small, a couple of verses total.
Zephaniah 3:17 is a verse I’ve been pondering lately, so I will pick that one.
If you don’t have a verse in mind, feel free to use that one.
The Lord your God is among you,
a warrior who saves;
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will be quiet in His love;
He will delight in you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Read your verse normally.
What stood out to you?
Read your verse again, this time out loud.
How did it impact you this time?
After reading my verse, I could share what it said.
I knew my brain was engaged and I understood what the verse conveyed.
I loved the picture of the Lord as my victorious warrior that came to mind.
However, I sensed the Word come alive in a different way when I read the verse again.
Read your verse out loud again, this time at a pace much slower than before.
Slow enough to allow the words to soak in at the heart level, not just in the mind. For instance, from Zephaniah 3:17:
“The Lord your God…
Is among you…
A warrior who saves…”
Did the verse resonate in a different way?
As I sit here writing this, I found that today the word “your” is what the Spirit used to speak to me. Had I been reading the verse at my normal pace, I probably wouldn’t have paused at all for that word.
But today, the reality that the Lord is MY God challenges me.
When I a need a victorious warrior, it is the Lord MY God who comes to my rescue. He is not an impersonal deity.
I have a personal relationship with Him, through which, I am able to experience the goodness of Him fighting for me.
Had I not slowed down when reading the Word,
I may have missed the Holy Spirit highlighting “your.”
Since the Holy Spirit dwells within each Christian, He partners with the Word to draw us deeply and intimately into an engaging experience with the Holy Trinity.
The Spirit breathes upon what the words you read in the Bible.
If we are willing to create space for Him to move, the results are amazing!
For me, reading the verses with a slow intentionality challenges me to listen both with my ears and my heart.
Oh Lord, may we slow down long enough to hear, experience, and engage with You as Your Word comes alive!
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Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!