Today is the day all of us at Proverbs 31 Ministries have been waiting for. It’s the first day of our First 5 app. Hopefully by now you’ve heard a bit about it. We technically launched the app last week in hopes of giving you time to download it, familiarize yourself with the functionality and test your alarm clock. But today is our first day of content for our inaugural study of the book of John.
I am so proud to be a part of the content team. You are going to be blown away by the brilliance of these spectacular girlfriends, Bible junkies and wise women. (One of whom is the fabulous Lysa TerKeurst. Listen, I’ll just be trying to play catch up with their awesomeness!)
We are all passionate about this app because-we get it-carving out time for God’s Word is hard, but it is also so worth it. Now, make no mistake, we aren’t saying you should ONLY spend five minutes with God a day. No ma’am. More time often equals more transformation.
But our great God can do big things with small efforts too. I have experienced in my own life how studying the Bible helps my heart even when I’ve only had a few minutes. When something I read or studied hijacks an emotional meltdown or softens a sorry attitude, I’m more committed to making the effort the next day and the next day and the next day.
So how do we let the Word of God shape our days? Certainly the Holy Spirit can just arrest our thoughts in a moment, but there are things we can do to keep those first thoughts fresh in our mind even as our to-do lists beckon.
First things first (see what I did there?), we read God’s Word. Man, an app would help with that, huh? But even if you don’t use the First 5 app, take just a few minutes to read the Bible. And read it slowly.
I don’t know about you, but often when I’m reading my Bible I feel like I’m playing beat the clock. I’ll let the pressure of my next thing kill the sweetness of this present thing. So savor what you’re reading even if you don’t read as much. Being purposefully slow and lingering over just a few verses can dramatically increase our ability to process it.
Second, ask what this passage tells you about God or Jesus. Now this may seem overly Sunday School-ish or like we are being too simple with our internalization of the passage, but it’s important. Sometimes I’ll rush through a passage looking just at what’s in it for me. That’s the temptation when we’re in a hurry.
But if we don’t hang out on this key step we can mis-apply Scripture at best or make it behavior modification at worst. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want the Bible to make me act better; I want it to make me better. It’s really hard to maintain right living if it’s not supported by right thinking.
Who is God? What is His character like? What characteristic is on display here? Where does this characteristic or attribute intersect with us? Why would that aspect of His character be in conflict with some part of my behavior?
Now, (and this is just the nature of my life) I usually have to let these questions simmer in my brain as I move on to fixing dinner, re-washing the load of clothes that I washed yesterday but forgot about or go break up a serious lego dispute between my boys. I just think about what I read, and keep asking questions about it in my head.
And you know what, this is the spiritual discipline of meditation. No matter how you do it, formally or informally, just let what you’ve read steep a bit.
Finally, and most practically once I’ve walked around with these thoughts for a bit, I’ll try and crystalize what I’ve learned into a key thought, attribute of God or personal application. Then I’ll put it on sticky note on my mirror or refrigerator. It’s silly and small, but it makes me feel like I’m taking some meaningful step to reinforce what I learned. I’ve also heard dry-erase markers work great on a mirror. Perhaps you could find an artsy quote on Pinterest that you can make your lock screen on your phone.
Try something, anything that keeps your main take-away front and center AND kind of says, “yay me!” Celebrate that you made the effort! God will faithfully bring it to mind at just the right time.
So, how do you study the Bible and meditate on what you’ve learned?