The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, NKJV
To make this year (and decade) count for something, my desire is to make being in God’s Word my highest priority. But my good intentions mean nothing unless I take practical steps towards making time in the Word my highest priority.
This desire of mine to make God’s Word #1 in my life was spurred when I read this exhortation, “Demonstrate to your children that God's Word is your number one priority.” It really got me thinking about the example I’m setting for my daughter. God’s Word has always been a priority in my life, but I had to admit it wasn’t #1. Then I wondered: what does my current relationship to God’s Word say about how highly I esteem it? Am I refusing to miss a day in God’s Word or am I making other things in my life the priority? Do I allow myself sufficient time, each day to be refreshed with the Word or do I allow other things crowd out my time—either cutting my time short, or cutting my time out altogether? Am I studying the Bible on my own and/or in a ladies Bible Study Group? Do I make it a point to memorize Scripture—whether it is a verse or a passage? What do these examples, good or bad, say to me and my family regarding how I value God’s Word? Our examples good or bad will make an impact on our family and their relationship to God’s Word.
When we make being in God’s Word our highest priority, our family will see how much we love and rely on the Word. As a result they will want to be more in God’s Word too. Tragically, if time in God’s Word isn’t our highest priority, our family will notice that too, and they may not see the value in being in God’s Word. May our love for God’s Word be evident to all who know us—epically those in our household.
Ruth Bell Graham’s love of God’s Word was evident to those who knew her—especially her family. Her husband, Billy Graham was asked the question, “Who do you go to for counsel, for spiritual guidance?” His answer, “My wife, Ruth. She is a great student of the Bible. Her life is ruled by the Bible more than any person I’ve ever known. That’s her rule book, her compass. Her disposition is the same all the time—very sweet and very gracious and charming. When it comes to spiritual things, my wife has had the greatest influence on my ministry.” Remembering her mother, Anne Graham Lotz recalls, “I would go down to my mother’s room early in the morning. Her light would be on, and I would find her at her big, flat-top desk. She would have about 14 different translations of the Bible spread out. She would be reading and studying her Bible.”
C.H Spurgeon shows what it means to truly exhibit a love relationship with God’s Word in his commentary on the man who delights on Psalm 1:2a
"His delight is in the law of the Lord." He is not under the law as a curse and condemnation, but he is in it, and he delights to be in it as his rule of life; he delights, moreover, to meditate in it, to read it by day, and think upon it by night. He takes a text and carries it with him all day long; and in the night-watches, when sleep forsakes his eyelids, he museth upon the Word of God. In the day of his prosperity he sings psalms out of the Word of God, and in the night of his affliction he comforts himself with promises out of the same book. "The law of the Lord" is the daily bread of the true believer. And yet, in David's day, how small was the volume of inspiration, for they had scarcely anything save the first five books of Moses! How much more, then, should we prize the whole written Word which it is our privilege to have in all our houses! But, alas, what ill-treatment is given to this angel from heaven! We are not all Berean searchers of the Scriptures. How few among us can lay claim to the benediction of the text! Perhaps some of you can claim a sort of negative purity, because you do not walk in the way of the ungodly; but let me ask you—Is your delight in the law of God? Do you study God's Word? Do you make it the man of your right hand—your best companion and hourly guide?”
If being in God’s Word has always be a priority in your life, but like me, you desire for that priority to be #1, here are some practical steps we can take to make God’s Word #1 in our life. Note which of these you might put into practice, in your own life as you seek to exalt God’s Word above all else—evidencing that God’s Word is the master passion of your life.
1. Treasure God’s Word More Than Your Daily Bread
I love Job’s declaration:
I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. (Job 23:12)
Though we don’t want to be legalistic, I really admire Job for putting time in God’s Word above meeting his physical need for food. Maybe it’s because my blood sugar runs low if I wait too long to eat, but when I get hungry eating is clearly my top priority. When I’m hungry, I can’t fathom putting anything before that. Yet Job esteemed God’s Word more than His daily bread. To be careful that I don’t esteem anything above God’s Word, even meeting my physical need for food, for me, I like the idea of not eating breakfast until I’ve first fed from God’s Word.
2. Begin your day reading a passage from the Bible
Depending on your circumstances, rising before your household to read God’s Word may or may not be practical for you. For me, since my daughter wakes so early, and my husband’s health struggles make me the primary caregiver of our sweet girl, rarely do I have the luxury of reading my Bible before my little one wakes up. But because I’m determined to begin my day in God’s Word, whether the circumstances for doing so are ideal or not, I’m going to make it happen by reading a passage of Scripture to my little girl as we start our day together.
3. Select a verse of Scripture to meditate on thru the day.
When I am working on memorizing a passage of Scripture, I focus on one verse each day. I write the verse on a 3x5 card and read it every chance I get, having read the verse nearly twenty times by the days end. While my goal is to memorize the verse, what really makes the verse stick in my mind is meditating on it all throughout my day. For instance if I was trying to memorize Psalm 84 and got to verse 11 I’d spend my day focusing on the following truths:
Imagine dwelling on these words all day long. How much better would your day go as you meditate on the promise that no good thing is God withholding from you because your are blameless in Christ? (Romans 8:1)
Encourage you family with the truths you’ve learned from the verse you’re meditating on that day. Talk about them at mealtime, playtime, in the car, etc. (Deuteronomy 6:7)
4. Memorize a passage of Scripture
I think of all the useless trivia and movie quotes that I’ve memorized over the years and I’m humbled that sometimes I can quote more from a favorite movie than I can from a favorite book of the Bible. And how much more does the Bible deserve to be memorized?
While memorizing random Bible verses does have its value, I’ve made it my goal to memorize chapters from the Bible and am working towards memorizing a book of the Bible this year. I don’t consider my memory exceptional by any means. Even so, because I desire to make time in God’s Word my highest priority I can think of no better way to use my time (and mind) than memorizing God’s Word.
Well known Bible teacher Dr. Chuck Swindoll has written:
"I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture...No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified."
5. Journal what God is showing you in His Word
Last year I was introduced to S.O.A.P. Journaling and immediately fell in love with it. I’m getting so much more out of my time in God’s Word. To S.O.A.P. Journal,I read a chapter in the Bible (I’m currently in Numbers) and then journal on a verse or verses from that chapter, using S.O.A.P as a guide:
S Scripture—I write out the verse or verses that stood out to me
O Observation—I note everything I can about that Scripture
A Application—I write how I can apply the verse(s) to my life
P Prayer—I write a prayer in response to the Bible verse(s)
6. Surround Yourself With Scripture
To keep God’s Word at the forefront of your mind each day, do what you can to surround yourself with Scripture. You could put Bible verses around the house as fancy as a framed picture with Scripture to as simple as a Bible verse written on a sticky note posted the bathroom mirror. Other places you could put Scripture: on the fridge, on your TV remote, on your phones, above your laundry, on your computer, in your kids rooms, in your bedroom, outside in your garden, etc. (Deuteronomy 6:9)
Another option is playing an Audio Bible out loud around the house and in the car. My favorite Audio Bible is The Word of Promise (NKJV) Because it is dramatic audio, even your kids will enjoy hearing the Bible acted out from Genesis to Revelation.
There is no shortage of places and ways you can surround yourself with Scripture.
Hopefully you’ve gleaned something that you can apply to this New Year (and decade!). God bless you richly as you seek to esteem God’s Word above all else and communicate to your family, by your godly example, that being in God’s Word is your highest priority.
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Copyright © 2010 Brooke Espinoza.