Spiritual Disciplines 2- Scripture
Donald Whitney in his Book on the Spiritual Disciplines says: “Spiritual Disciplines are the God-given means we are to use in the Spirit-filled pursuit of Godliness. Godly people are discipled people. It has always been so.”
However lest we think that spiritual growth is about our determination and resolve, Whitney goes on to remind us that growth is ultimately God’s work. It is his grace at work in our lives;
“Think of Spiritual Disciplines as ways we can place ourselves in the path of God’s grace and seek Him much as Barthimeaus and Zacchaeus placed themselves in Jesus’ path and sought Him.”
Last week we were introduced to the first of the Spiritual Disciplines- Prayer. In that article I suggested we had to start there, as that’s where the Christian life itself begins (Romans 10:13). There is, however, another place we could have started. We could have begun with Scripture. We must, after all, hear the Good News that we might respond to it. We must hear from God as well as speak to him if we are to grow in grace. Spurgeon when asked whether Bible reading or prayer was more important in the Christian life responded “What is more important: breathing in or breathing out?”
In the Gospels, Jesus often taught by asking questions. The question he asked more often than any other was this; “have you never read?..”
How are we to become men and women increasingly devoted to Scripture?
Firstly, I would suggest we must join a Church committed to the authority of Scripture. (I trust Ebenezer meets that requirement, but we must never grow complacent and always allow God’s Word to challenge and change us). The Christian life was never meant to be lived in isolation, we are designed by God to live together under the authority of his Word. A Church where God’s Word is faithfully preached, is a Church where God’s voice will be heard.
Secondly, we must read the Bible ourselves. How thankful we should be that we have God’s Word available in our language. How thankful we should be for the education that we have received, thus allowing us to read it. And yet how often we take it all for granted.
Thirdly, we must reflect on what we read. Prayerful meditation on God’s Word allows it to penetrate our hard hearts and busy lives and do its wonderful work within us.
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night…”Joshua 1:8
Finally, we must apply God’s Word to our lives:
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night…so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”Joshua 1:8
Imagine going to the doctors, being accurately diagnosed, given a prescription and told to take the pills twice a day for a week. You get the prescription but leave the pills in a drawer. What good will they do? Unless we apply God’s Word, unless we trust and obey it, we cannot expect to benefit from it. But if we do, then Jesus himself promises that we will be blessed.
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”Luke 11:28
May we be men and women who know what it is to say with the Psalmist:
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!Ps 119:103–104
I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.”