Do Something about It! Really?

Over the past number of posts I have written about how we take in the Word of God.  We have used the Hand Illustration as our roadmap for this discussion.  This post will finish up by discussing Application.  James speaks to us about applying God’s word.  He tells us not to be merely hearers of the word, but doers (James 1:22-26).

When we hear, read, study, memorize and meditate on the Scriptures, we should always be asking God to reveal to us how he would have us respond.  We could ask these questions:

  • Is there a sin to confess?
  • Is there a promise to receive?
  • I there an attitude to change?
  • Is there an example to follow?
  • Is there a prayer to pray?
  • Is there an error to avoid?
  • Is there a truth to avoid?
  • Is there a truth to believe?
  • Is there something to thank God for?

Too often we pressure ourselves to get a specific thing to do as a result of our daily devotional time.  Let’s think about that.  Say you have daily devotions 4 days a week, 52 weeks a year.  If you expect a specific application each day, that would be 208 applications in a year.  Yikes!  What a burden that would be.  My experience tells me that God doesn’t bombard me with that many things to do or change in my life over such a relatively short period of time.  Instead, he focuses on one or two things at a time, usually over an extended period of time.  He knows change will take time to work into my life.

As I journal regularly, more often than not I find the application is not so much a thing to do, but a truth about God to absorb into my thinking.  So I find myself paraphrasing that truth as I journal my application.  Check out my SOAP journal entry on Psalm 29:1-2 as an example.  Notice that in the application section I am personalizing my understanding of the splendor of God’s majesty.  There is nothing I can “do” that will add to God’s majesty.  The important thing is to acknowledge it, rest in it, and worship God with a greater appreciation.  By journaling about his majesty, I am working this wonderful reality deep into my soul.

What application has God revealed to you recently?

Ascribe to the Lord

Scripture

Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. (Psalm 29:1-2)

Observation

The psalmist wants everyone to acknowledge the One who truly is strong. To the strong and mighty, he says to recognize that God is stronger.  He is the One who is in glory.  God is the One who is worthy of worship.  We should worship him alone.  His holiness is splendid.

Application

There is no one or no organization that can compare to the greatness and power of Almighty God.  There is simply no way to even compare.  Only God is worthy of my worship. I will worship him in the splendor of his holiness.

Prayer

Lord, you alone are worthy of my praise.  You are all powerful. Glory and strength belong exclusively to you.  No other being in heaven or earth can compare.  I worship you. I submit to you.  You are the all powerful God and you are loving, compassionate, forgiving and merciful.  You are the God everyone wants and needs.  I love you.

Chew on This for Awhile

I’ll never forget my first week of gymnastics practice at Georgia Tech, 37 years ago.  I would arrive at the locker room to get dressed for our workout and two of my new teammates would be talking to each other about Bible verses they had written out on small index cards.  They were telling each other the insights they had gleaned from their respected verses as they thought about them while walking to and from classes that day.  Eventually they included me in these discussions.  At first I thought they were weird. I had never seen anyone mediate on Scripture and I certainly had never heard anyone talk about what God was saying to them.  Yet I wanted what these guys had.  I wanted to learn to how to have God speak directly to me from the Bible.

The Willow Creek Association made the following discovery during their Reveal Survey: “Reflection on Scripture is the most powerful spiritual practice to help people move forward in their love for God and others.”  In other words, meditating on Scripture is the single most important practice for the maturity of a follower of Jesus.  Meditating on Scripture is the concentrated reflection on a verse or passage until we not only understand it in its Biblical context but we have heard from the Holy Spirit as to how it intersects with our lives.

Mediating on Scripture can take many forms.  My teammates taught me to write out a Bible verse each day during my devotional time with God.  They encouraged me to carry that verse around with me throughout the day.  So I did.  As I went from class to class, I remembering asking questions about the verse:  What does it mean? What am I to do with it?  I personalized the verse: “Jim. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so Jim may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6).  I would paraphrase the verse: “Whenever I am in a conversation I need to make sure my words are always kind, forgiving and point people to Jesus.”  Most importantly, I prayed about the verse.  I would pray that God would help me understand the verse and show me how he would have me apply it that day.

You may want to do this with the verses you are memorizing.  After all, memorization without meditation is an empty discipline.

Today, I meditate mostly by writing about a verse in my SOAP journal.  That exercise has all the ingredients of good meditation: Observation (What does it mean?). Application (What am I to do with it?), and Prayer (Lord, help me apply this).

What is your favorite way to mediate and reflect on Scripture?

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