It’s Kay Wyma! I’m back for the final part. I am passionate about this area – so I couldn’t leave you with a hunger and not fill it. This last part are just some ideas on HOW to do this.
As is often the case, I need a little kick start, or a game of sorts to add structure to an effort. So, typical to my flaky thought-process, I did just that with engaging in Scripture, made it a game.
I was struck by the times in Scripture where the Lord directed certain messengers to “eat it.” And, since it was the beginning of the year when we’re bombarded by dieting ads, I thought I’d make my time in Scripture a diet. But rather than food, I new diet would be eating God’s Word. His words, the audibly spoken (often through a prophet, sometimes out of a storm, etc.) words from God.
I literally started to search for the places in Scripture where God himself is quoted (“And the Lord God said, ‘…) I grabbed a highlighter and began underlining all of those words – in the same way Jesus’ words are red-lettered. This silly exercise literally changed the way I read God’s word.
So – if you feel like trying this diet, here are a few helpful hints from a little devotional (Le Souffle – link below):
1. Choose a highlighter.
Make sure to choose a color slightly different from one that you might normally use to mark your Bible. For me… I headed to our local office supply and found a nice light blue whose ink didn’t bleed through the page. (I picked up a few knowing full well I’d lose it within days.) Be sure you have your highlighter handy whenever you’re reading the Bible so you can mark any (and only) direct quotes from God. These Bible highlighters never bleed through – normally found at Christian bookstores.
Who knows where this exercise might lead us. No matter the direction, it will plant our feet firmly in His word. As we dine with Him every day, may we grow in our knowledge of Him so that like the prophet Isaiah (who was a faithful scribe documenting countless chapters of God’s words) we can say,
The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakened me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears and I have not been rebellious…” (Isaiah 50:4-5)
Not hungry? I get that. Many of us haven’t eaten from God’s word in years. Some of us eat, but not regularly. Some of us have tasted it, but didn’t really find it filling… or delicious. For some reason we found it heavy and indigestion-laden.
If possible, park the baggage outside your front door and begin fresh. Forget about predispositions. Forget about the food (parts of the Bible) you think you like or don’t like. Approach this task with completely fresh eyes – something that might be hard to do. Especially when reading passages that are familiar to everyone, whether we know God or not. For the purpose of this task, we’ll act as if the words are being picked fresh from the vine each day we read.
By looking at God’s words, reading Scripture to see what God himself has to say, we’re going organic. Forget the man-made additives, the food coloring, the religious refining. There’s no pre-packaging or flash freezing. This meal is about eating His word raw. We don’t need to cook it. We don’t even need to wash it before we eat it. No. Let’s let God do that. Let’s let Him provide the nourishment in exactly His perfect portions.
This diet could last weeks/months/years … and then some.
Don’t have to bite off more than you can chew.
Simply commit to spending time with God each day for the next four weeks. It could be 5 or 50 minutes. Don’t stress or worry about it. Take the Nike approach and JDI … Just Do It.
Then, grab a buddy
Not to sit with you and go through Scripture or prayer with you, but to give you some accountability in whatever for it blesses (not burdens) you.
Being accountable to someone is just one way to keep us on track. But, at the very least, be accountable to yourself by documenting your time with the Lord. Write down everything He’s teaching you, when He’s teaching it. Don’t wait. We all forget if we don’t make note the minute we learn it.
Next, set a time to open God’s Word.
You may not be a morning person, but for this exercise – become one! Commit to getting up 15 minutes earlier than you normally would (15 minutes!!). Find a quiet spot and ask God to prepare your heart and mind for time with Him.
…Remember, God says (yes these are His words),
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things.” Jeremiah 33:3
(By the way, He always – ALWAYS – does what He says he’s going to do.)
Research has shown that the more senses we use in learning, the longer we will retain the information. So even a phone call to an accountability party might be a good idea at some point. Reading (eyes), speaking (mouth/maybe taste ☺), hearing a friend’s response and the words out of our own mouth (ears), writing/journaling (touch) … I’m not sure if we could get to a smell function, but 4 out of 5 isn’t too shabby.
- Begin with PRAYER: “Lord, open my eyes that I might see what you have to show me in your Word.” (Psalm
- Contextual questions (who, what, when, where, why) can be incredibly helpful.
- Read and re-read the passage being studied. Mark any ideas that are
repeated, character traits exhibited, anything that sticks out to you.
- Commit to take action (I will…). What are you going to do with what you’ve learned?
- End your day with prayer, maybe even contemplation. Anchoring a day in God puts everything in perspective.
Here’s a link for downloadable pdf copy of Le Souffle and its predecessor La Coeur (a Cleaning our hearts and minds of the worldly toxins, replacing them with Truth and intimacy with God).