Life’s a funny thing; no one knows what it will throw at us. Even if you consider yourself a control freak, there are some things in life that you just do not have control over. One thing, we do have control over, however, is our response to life. We can’t control what others may think about of us, but we can control how we react. Our perspective often shapes not only what we see, but how we respond to life’s twists and turns.
Having the Word of God buried deep in your heart, personally and intimately helps shape that perspective and respond in a way which is pleasing to God. The benefits of having a healthy dose of the Word of God in your mind, heart, and Spirit is endless. It cannot be replaced by the best sermons by your favourite preachers; it’s something that you need to know for yourself.
Now, I know that at times cultivating a discipline of reading God’s word can be difficult, so I thought I would share a few tips to help you study the Word of God more frequently and effectively.
1. Read Daily
Like any discipline, habit or routine you are hoping to cultivate, practice makes perfect. At first, it seems like a chore…but after a while, if you don’t read your Word or you miss a day, you will notice that something is off. I would encourage you to read your Bible daily. However, check tip 2.
2. Start small
When starting out, I think it is a little ambitious to try and read 5 chapters daily. The Word is a spiritual tool packed with food for the soul, so every word matters. If you set an overly ambitious goal, you will find yourself drifting off and more focused on meeting that goal than actually engaging with the words on the page. If you start with a few verses a day and build your appetite for more, you’ll find that your appetite will grow gradually. A great book in the Bible, to begin with, is the Gospel according to John which follows the journey of Jesus from the perspective of John.
3. Remove all distractions
Let’s just get this out the way. When you set out to read the word, expect distractions. I would advise you to (if you’re reading on your phone) put your phone in airplane mode. Even better, get yourself a physical Bible and put your phone aside for the duration of your studies – you’ll thank yourself for it.
4. Pray before you begin
Studying God’s Word is more than reading a bedtime story, it is the heart of God. Studying his Word requires his Spirit to reveal the truths behind the pages. It is the tool for which God uses to communicate to our heart. For these reasons and more, a prayer before you begin invites God to communicate what he wants to say to you through the verses and chapters.
5. Be still afterward
Now, I know we are all busy and “hustling”, but I would encourage you to wait in silence for a few minutes after you have finished reading. Why? It allows God to respond, it allows the Word you have read to take root in your heart before you are bombarded with messages, emails, and notifications. Have a moment to reflect on what you have just read to gain an understanding so that it forms and shapes your perspectives for the day.
6. Ask Questions
Let’s face it, sometimes…we read something in the Word of God and we have no clue what it’s about. I would encourage you to ask questions. The first person to ask is the author himself – God. Open your heart to a response. As you go about your day or perhaps the week and continue the study of the Word…look for a response from God to your questions. Still nothing? Ask a leader within your Church family, sometimes…having questions unlocks the greatest discovery to the heart of God.
You started reading a verse a day, but now, you’re a pro. Ok, I would encourage you to cross-reference between chapters and even books within the Bible. God doesn’t change, and you will be amazed what God’s spirit shapes in your heart when you connect two scriptures in two completely different situations together. It begins to reassure you of how God will respond to your own situation.
8. Don’t always study in isolation
Now, don’t get me wrong – the personal study is important, however, what you have studied can come alive within a community. We have an instant comment section within the app for that very purpose – the ability to share what you have learned in the community with others sharing what they have been studying so you can cross-reference is a beautiful thing.
Ok – that’s it for me. We are developing our devotional section to make it a more robust user-friendly aspect of the W TALK App. Why? Studying the Word is so vital to our faith walks.
I hope you have found my tips helpful.