Respond to the Word of God is part of the Mrs. Disciple 101 series.
If you have kids, you know this scene. Child, totally engrossed in an activity of choice. Dinner is ready. “Child, please wash your hands and come to the table.” “Yes, mam” (on a good day I get the “mam”). Sit at table. Where is child? Child is still engrossed in activity of choice.
Child didn’t listen. Child didn’t respond.
Insert yourself into that scenario. You, totally engrossed in an activity of choice. It doesn’t even have to be an activity; a thought, a distraction, your to-do list racking up in your head. A feast of Truth awaits you at the Father’s table. He calls you, “Child, please come to the table.” Whatever has your attention at that moment keeps your attention. You may even sit at the metaphorical table, but you aren’t really there.
In our last visit, we looked at how to study the Bible, the practical things: time, place, supplies, a plan. Time with God is more than just coming to the table. We also need to respond to the Word of God.
Respond to the Word of God
Let every heart prepare him room.
That age-old carol holds a truth for our time with the Father. We must prepare room for him in our hearts.
We make room through prayer. In the quiet, take a few minutes to examine your heart. Confess those sins that surface under the Light. Think about–really think about–being in the presence of God, the Creator of the universe. Respond with worship, thanksgiving, humility. Ask God to quiet the noise, those thoughts that try to grab your attention, so you can hear Him speak to you.
Quiet. I am so easily distracted when I sit down to read God’s Word. For me, it is the list of things to do that zoom in like the wicked witch’s flying monkeys. For you, it may be a relationship that is not in a good place. Or concern over a child. Maybe a regret from yesterday or last year. These distractions can be so loud that we don’t hear the Spirit whisper during this conversation with God.
Consider ways to quiet the distracting thoughts. A post-it notepad to jot down the flying tasks. A note card to start that letter of reconciliation. A journal to express your concerns, hurts, and hopes. A mason jar to catch those regrets that keep robbing you of the joy of the presence of the Lord.
Listen. Now that it is quiet, you are ready to listen. Start in on that plan you selected last time. As you read, ask yourself a few questions:
- What does this tell me about God? Can I see more of his character? His love? His holiness?
- What does this show me about myself? Does it reveal a sin? A strength? An area that needs growth?
- How does this passage make me feel? Encouraged? Convicted? Joyful? Thoughtful?
- What additional information do I need to understand this better? Look at the context? A commentary to get clarification? A word study to know what this really means?
- What action do I need to take? Do I need to seek forgiveness from God or others? Memorize this truth so I remember it in hard times? Change the way I respond to others?
Write. Remember that notebook and pen we have in our reading spot? It’s time to pull it out. Record some of your observations or responses from your reading. Writing it down helps solidify it in your mind; it becomes more than just a passing thought. Remember those loud distractions? I promise you they will swoop in to try to steal whatever truth you just uncovered the minute you get up from the table. When you write it down, you record this precious moment in your history. It cannot be taken from you.
I started journaling during my quiet time in high school. I can trace my journey through the pages of spiral bound notebooks, cute journals, three-ring binders. It is a record of God’s faithfulness throughout my life. I can look back at the months I prayed over my high school crush and remember in the hard times that I asked God for this man to be my husband. I see God’s healing hand on my heart and body during the years leading up to our first pregnancy. I feel such gratitude as I look back over the ways he has not only forgiven, but also redeemed, my frequent moments of stupidity. These words–recorded in joy, in sorrow, in shame, in gratitude–are so precious to me, like the stones from the Jordan (Joshua 4:1-9).
Act. Now it is time to take action. It will look different each day. A few examples . . . .
- Ask God to forgive you for that which you have been convicted.
- Write a verse out on an index card and post it over the sink to remind you of the truth God whispered to you.
- Pray for the courage to share, to ask forgiveness, to stand up for truth.
- Share what you learned with someone who needs to hear it.
- Ask forgiveness from someone you have offended or hurt.
- Stand up for truth when you are confronted with lies.
- Write a note of encouragement to a friend who could use a hug from God.
- Resolve to pause before responding to your husband, children, or coworker so that you can respond less like yourself and more like Jesus.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. James 1:22-25, The Message
I know this to be true: as you commit to spend time with The Lord and respond to the Word of God, you will get hooked. Like a giggly girl who can’t wait for a phone call from her beau, you will look forward to those sweet moments with your Savior.
And, when God calls you to the table, you will drop everything and run to Him!
Recommended Resource Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ A Place of Quiet Rest is a fantastic resource for learning how to spend time with God. She offers solid teaching based in Scripture, as well as helpful tips and guidelines. If this is a new adventure for you, I highly recommend you grab a copy and start reading it!
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