A relationship with God requires knowing Him. Knowing Him requires knowing His word.
Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples.” (John 8:31)
How do you “abide in His word”?
God looks in at our hearts. He knows if we desire a relationship with Him and He will provide us with ways (or tools) to grow in our relationship (abide in Him). Longing for that close relationship with us (and we with Him), He has provided us with His word, first and foremost.
One person’s experience:
I have gone through periods of focused effort on scripture memorization, all of which grew my relationship with the Lord. The process of committing His word to memory, or learning “by heart” forces me to mull it over and over, as if visiting with Him over and over, and knowing Him (in my heart) better each time.
More recently, God provided me with Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book, Switch on Your Brain which has proven to be a very practical tool, connecting knowledge of the brain with how to “develop a disciplined thought life by increasing awareness of what I am allowing into my mind”.
This, in turn, led me to desiring a more disciplined way to memorize His word, but at the same time, more carefully choose which verses to focus on for personal spiritual growth.
My original choices when I began this new/old journey were:
- John 15:19b: “You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
- Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
- Second Samuel 22:2-3a: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.”
- Is. 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.:
- Ephesians 4:15: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” and
- Phil. 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
The next step: How do I fit this into my life, as part of a natural, daily routine?
“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “When I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.” (Amos 8:11)
Another goal I had made was to get some exercise in my daily routine. This is an early morning activity for me, usually biking and sometimes walking. Therefore, as soon as I hop on my bike, I practice in my head (or speak aloud) the scripture I am trying to memorize. It’s not always perfect; I may forget a portion or a word, but I keep on going to the part I do remember, and look it up when I get home. The other way God has used this is to dialogue (pray with Him) along my biking path. Sometimes, if I’m going through some bumps in my life journey, I only pray during biking.
So, the relationship changes and grows, by imploring Him for answers and by asking questions. My original verse of Eph. 4:15 has evolved into Eph. 4:1-18, because of going to the Lord with my wondering, and asking questions. One verse that I keep from my original choices is Phil. 4:8.
This spiritual and physical renewal routine lasts for 30-45 minutes, followed by a shower (yes, I need it, but “cleanse me, Lord, and renew me for this day”), and then my daily Bible study. It happens to fit into this part of my day, as my work schedule is now; however, it has also been in the evening, or split between old and new testament readings – morning and evening.
God is good; He has provided and protected me, and is renewing me every day. To God be the Glory.
“The Lord has exalted above all things His Name and His Word.” (Psalm 138:2)