I am not one for making New Year’s Resolutions and it seems I am not alone. Less than one half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Of those people, only 8% actually succeed in keeping those resolutions.
This past year I did have a strong desire for something more in my life. I wanted more of God. I have been a Christian a long time and yet I feel that there is so much more to know of God and my hunger for him is at times insatiable.
How can we get more of God? We know Him by finding Him in his word. God’s word is His very breath. It is not just letters on a page and pages in a book. It is alive and it speaks to us. (Hebrews 4:12). It gives us hope and encouragement (Romans 15:4). It lays bare the secrets of our hearts (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). Through it we are born again (1 Peter 1:23). And God’s Word changes us.
I have been a Christian for a long time and a pastor’s wife for 30 years, but for many years I approached my bible study like a Chinese buffet. I would pick and choose what I felt I needed to study at the time. I take some joy, some love, and oh yeah “I got those kids Lord so give me some patience.” Just like the Chinese buffet I would feel full for a while, but it never lasted. I was approaching God’s word to find solutions to my problems; not to find God.
Too many of us do the same thing. We approach God and His word as a road map, basic instructions, or a verse a day to get us through the day. These things are good but they are not the best way to get more of God. We need all of God’s Word not just a verse or a devotional a day. How do we do that with God’s word? Read it like a book. Read whole books of the Bible at a time, and read the whole Bible, not just the New Testament. Realize that every book in the Bible is a puzzle piece to God’s story. Sometimes we view each book like it stands alone but they all work so beautifully together. As you read and study ask yourself “What does this tell me about God?” It is through God’s word that we learn of His character; that we come to know Him. And then ask yourself, “What does this tell me about myself?”
I recently finished a study of the patriarchs of the OT, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. What a wonderfully rich study it was! I learned so much about God and myself. Through the life of Abraham I learned that God calls me to leave my comfortable life for a new journey with Him; even though I may not know where that journey leads.Through the life of Isaac I learned that God will ask me to climb some mountains in obedience and trust Him for the future.Through the life of Jacob I learned that my God is a God who came down from heaven to pursue me and sometimes because if His great love He wounds me.Through the life of Joseph I learned that whether I am in a pit, in a prison or in a palace, God is sovereign and works all things for His purpose and my good.
Martin Luther said “The Bible is alive it speaks to me, it has feet, it runs after me, I has hands, it lays hold of me.”
We want to gaze into the Word of God and let the Word of God gaze into our soul. It is active and living and we have to give it time to do a work on us that may take time. We have to think of bible study as a savings account and not a debit card. We don’t just go withdraw comfort when we need it, we invest and we build and it is long term. Then it is waiting for us when we need it the most.
About 9 years ago I had a year of crisis after crisis. First the Paso Robles earthquake hit and devastated my home. That was just the beginning of what felt like a hurricane season in my life which included the sudden death of my mother, my own health problems, my father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, my husband went into a clinical depression, my I laws moved out of state and we had to pack up their home of 40 years, all in the same year. And to top it off, we were vacationing with a friend at her mountain cabin and were just beginning to relax and enjoy a break when we had to evacuate due to a forest fire! It was definitely a time when I began to think that God was against me not for me. But because I had invested God’s word and build up a savings account; I was able to withdraw on all that I knew of God and his character and His plan for my life; which allowed me to trust to God in the midst of the storm.
As we head into 2013, consider making a resolution worth keeping; resolve to get into God’s Word and seek after more of Him . Your life will never be the same.