I believe every Christ-follower wants to do what Scripture says. We want to succeed and be happy in life, but it doesn’t always happen. We find ourselves struggling with issues that weigh us down or sins we seem unable to avoid. Have you ever heard the Scriptures preached and it clearly addresses your sin issue? At such times, we become convicted and think we will never depart from the good teaching. Yet, after a while, we forget easily.
I have noticed that often, when we neglect the Scripture for a period, it is easy for us to lose the focus of our journey with God. It is not surprising then, that upon their entrance into the land He promised them, God urged Israel’s leader, Joshua, “This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.” (Joshua 1:8)
With the Spirit’s power to teach and convict, the Scripture guards us from sin and grants us access to knowing God’s heart. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “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.”
Now, what makes the word living and active? John 1:1-8 reveals that the Word existed in the beginning with God, and the Word was God. The whole creation was executed through Him, and there was nothing created apart from Him. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men; the Word became flesh and lived among men. John 1:16 continues, “Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from His fullness, for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
The text reveals Jesus Christ is the Word who existed in the beginning, through whom everything was created. What does this mean in real life?
Scripture, which is the written word, works powerfully in us because it points us to Jesus Christ, the living Word.
Jesus, the living Word, is the subject matter of the written word.
If we cannot do without Christ, the living Word, then we cannot do without the written word, in which Christ is the main focus.
When we study Scripture and meditate on it always, it stays in our hearts and helps us keep in contact with Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Having the word in us enables us to overcome temptations and live victoriously in our faith. We know that as long as we are in this world, Satan is bound to tempt us again and again. If he could tempt Jesus, who would he not tempt? Jesus’ response to temptation was to use Scripture; by this, He overcame fiery darts of the devil. (Matthew 4:1-11, Ephesians 6:16) Jesus replied to Satan, “It is written,” and then quoted a portion of Scripture relevant to the temptation at hand. If Jesus needed the Scripture to fight temptation, how much more do we need it?
There is no doubt we need Scripture settled in our hearts. Psalm 1:1-3 reveals the happiness of those who delight in the Lord’s instructions and meditate on them; they are like trees planted beside flowing streams. They prosper because they receive nourishment from the Word.
How do we meditate on Scripture so we will not depart from it? Dr. Ralph Wilson, one of my favorite writers, shares these guidelines, “Bible study takes a longer block of uninterrupted time. The real key to Bible study is being inquisitive, learning to ask questions of the text. First, read the passage. Then be a detective; look for clues. What’s going on? What stands out to you?”
Following his advice, I usually choose a single book or a topic and study it in-depth. Often, I spend at least an hour, and early morning time is best for me. I read a portion of Scripture more than once, and pause; I think over it again and again. In doing so, a message from the Scripture captures my mind. Then, I consult some commentaries, which provide a more thorough understanding. I will then task myself to think over the message throughout the day. For example, recently I was studying Philippians 4:8, which encourages us to think about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. As I went about my day, I asked the Spirit to guide my thoughts along those virtues. This requires self-discipline and practice, but simply begin practicing and find the delight the Spirit brings as you grow!
We cannot overemphasize the significance of meditating on Scripture; it is the only way we can succeed in keeping God’s word in our hearts. When we have the word in our hearts, the Spirit enables us to act on it, and we will grow deeply in our faith journey!
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