One of the things we must do to stay alive is eat! Along with air, water, and sleep, our bodies need food. The nutrients contained in the food we eat keep us healthy and strong. If we neglect to nourish our physical bodies, our health will inevitably decline.
The human soul works the same way! We must regularly feed on God’s Word to stay alive and spiritually healthy. We must continually and purposefully nurture our souls with the Word of God. First Peter 2:2 says, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” And Job 23:12 says, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”
It is imperative to our spiritual survival that we are daily in the Word of God. Spurgeon said, “We quickly lose the nourishment and strength of yesterday’s bread. We must feed our souls daily upon the manna God has given us.” First Timothy 4:13 says, “Till I come, give attendance to reading.” Because reading God’s Word is a command, we must consistently stick to a plan. Our approach cannot be hit and miss.
When I eat at a familiar restaurant, I enjoy trying something new every now and then. I like variety! When I have my time with God, I like to incorporate variety in my approach as well. It can be easy to fall into a routine during our quiet time with the Lord. Yet, there are different ways to read God’s Word, and I encourage you to vary your approach from time to time to keep your devotions fresh and vibrant.
Here are a few methods to consider incorporating into your devotional life.
1. Read God’s Word. Vary your approach to reading God’s Word. You may want to read the books of the Bible in chronological order, or pick a particular book of the Bible to read through several times. There are many different Bible-reading schedules you can follow. Read through the Bible in a year. Read one Proverb a day, corresponding with the day of the month. Read through the book of Psalms in one month (Read five chapters a day by dividing the chapters accordingly: The day of the month plus 30, plus 60, plus 90, plus 120. For example, on January 1, you would read Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91, and 121.) Read at least fifteen minutes per day. Read until you receive a blessing or a truth.
2. Study God’s Word. Charles Spurgeon said, “Do not be content to just read the words of Scripture. Seek to grasp the message they contain.” In addition to reading, we should study the Scriptures. Second Timothy 2:15 exhorts, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Determine to intentionally read God’s Word to understand the truths contained therein.
3. Meditate on God’s Word. George Mueller’s testimony challenges me on my meditation of Scripture: “The first evening that I shut myself into my room, to give myself to prayer and meditation over the Scriptures, I learned more in a few hours than I had done during a period of several months previously.” When was the last time you “shut yourself into a room” for the sole purpose of meditating on the words and promises of God to you?
In God’s eyes, why we do something is far more important than what we do. Why do you spend time with God? Is it out of a sense of duty or out of a heart of love for Him? How is your attitude as you enter God’s presence? Is it one of heartless service or humble surrender?
It is quite possible to do the right thing but with the wrong attitude. This was Amaziah’s problem. Second Chronicles 25:2 records, “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.”
What characteristics should our hearts toward God possess?
1. We must have pure hearts. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart” (Matthew 5:8). Make sure your sins are confessed and that there is nothing between you and your Saviour.
2. Go before the Lord with an attitude of reverence. Life is very busy, so be careful not to rush into God’s presence. Be still, and let the quietness clear away the cares of the world. Habakkuk 2:20 says, “But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.”
3. Be alert and pay attention. Remember you are meeting with the God of the universe, your Creator—your Saviour. He deserves an acute awareness of His presence and complete attention to His Word.
4. Have a heart of complete surrender. This attitude is so important. Don’t pick and choose what you will obey. Go before the Lord having already chosen to do His will—no matter what!
5. We should have a spirit of expectancy. Let’s come before God with anticipation and eagerness. Expect to have a good time with your God and to receive a blessing from Him.
The more that we invest in our study of the Bible, the more we will get out of it! How much time and effort have you put into your devotional time? Are you allowing time for God’s Word to shape your mind and change your thinking? Adjust your attitude to one of expectancy. Believe that God will reveal Himself and His truths to you personally!