“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statues of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.” Psalm 19:7-10
If God’s testimony about his Word is true then we would immeasurably benefit from saturating our lives with Scripture. I believe that the relevancy of the Bible is hidden from our generation not because of its complexity, but because of our lack of hunger for God’s truth. We are more than happy to be entertained with shallow thoughts about God as long as our felt needs are being met. If this is our habit in relating with God, I’m afraid of the consequences that lie ahead. In John 15:2-3, Jesus says, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” It’s better to be pruned than cut off.
As a pastor, I’ve had a conversation on spiritual growth with so many people over the years. I’ve thought about my own approach to spiritual growth throughout my Christian life. There’s one common denominator in every season of growth – a devotion to Scripture. God’s Word has always been the guiding light in all my seeking of God and discovery of his ways. A couple ways that I’ve tried to saturate my life with Scripture is through memorizing verses and passages and using biblical language in my speech.
I’ve found memorizing the Bible to be essential in the same way a GPS system is essential in finding my way in an unfamiliar part of the city. There are many mornings where I struggle to find the motivation to get up quickly and start my day. I’ll wrestle with my thoughts in bed. And throughout the day, my mind often wanders to the next distraction. I can go back and forth from surfing the internet, to planning out my calendar, to writing an email. I find that time goes by so quickly when my mind wanders, whether in bed or at my desk. An hour can fly by without any sense of direction and focus. It’s in these moments that I like to quote Scripture. “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14). “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3). “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32). As I pray through these verses from memory, it’s almost as if God is recalibrating my sense of direction in that moment.
Additionally, as I pray, I’ll sense that there’s something troubling my mind. It’s hard to quite put a finger on it but I know it’s there. I’m not happy about a situation. Or I’m upset about what another person said. In these moments, I’ve come to realize that the language I use to describe what I’m feeling is very important to my own spiritual growth. The language I use reveals how I’m interpreting and processing whatever it is I’m going through. I can either use my own language or the Bible’s language. For example, “frustration” at being “unproductive” sounds pretty noble, but it doesn’t help me change. Instead, I read from Proverbs 13:4, “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” This verse helps me to identify my laziness. My ways are more like the sluggard than the diligent. So I need to repent. Identifying biblical language for my sin or how I feel is so important in helping me change. It helps me to pray more earnestly and honestly. It helps me to share my struggles with others. That keeps me more accountable as I encounter similar temptations the next day. It helps me interpret my life according to God’s Word not my own feelings.
Those two practices have been immensely helpful in my own spiritual growth. Thinking through the categories of the Bible moment by moment is unnatural, but the promises are so rewarding.