Finally, we reach part 3! I initially hoped this series would have been completed in one week, but it took me awhile to figure out how to balance my time during my internship at Northridge.
Either way, here are a few closing thoughts in a series that took me way too long to write:
- Don’t get discouraged. Sometimes when I read the Bible, it just feels like any other reading. I don’t feel like I’m being changed. The skies don’t open up and I don’t hear the voice of the Lord telling me which verses to tweet or what my Instagram caption should be. Maybe you can relate? But that’s okay. It’s a process. You’re retaining more than you think and it will come out in moments you least expect it.
- Meditate & marinate. Just like in part 2, it’s helpful to me to find a passage that I can really think about and meditate on. Write it down. Think about it. Come back to it. Memorize it. Let the time you spent working through and praying about that passage begin to shape your thinking (Romans 12:2). Meditation is a constant throughout the book of Psalms (1:2, 19:14, 119:15).
- Look for parallels. Just today, I was reading in 2 Kings and was reminded of God’s perfect timing. It made me think of Romans 8:28, where Paul says “all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” God works all things together in his timing, for his purpose. It turns out that was a powerful reminder for a situation I’m currently facing in my own life. Find the parallels in Scripture and you’ll start to see how they connect to your life.
- If you fall off the wagon… Get back on. Oh no, you made a 14-day commitment, and it’s day 4 and you’ve already forgotten. No big deal. Get back on. No one is keeping score. Don’t let the pride of perfectionism keep you from nourishing your soul with God’s word.
- Write things down. I like to journal my prayer time out as I’m praying. It helps me visually reinforce and remember things that I read in Scripture. It also helps me to focus on what I’m doing and avoid that feeling that I’m just praying to a blank wall.
- Ask questions. Read something odd? Confusing? Contradictory? Ask good questions and seek out the answers. Use a resource like GotQuestions.org (or their app), or find a commentary.
- Talk to others! My sophomore year of college, I remember sitting at the table with a friend that lived on the hall and we’d discuss what we were learning in our devotions. We both grew from this experience. Often, I learn best when I process and explain something to someone else. Or, I’m challenged by the thoughts that someone else shares with me. We learn in conversation, so find a friend that will discuss Scripture with you.
- Keep going. As with many things worth doing: it takes time. We get caught up in the false idea that spiritual growth happens quickly, but growing in our relationship with Christ is often what Eugene Peterson calls a “long obedience in the same direction.” That’s why it’s called a spiritual discipline!
Hopefully, these thoughts help you in your desire to grow in your faith by reading and studying Scripture.
What are you learning about in your quiet study time? What tips have helped your spiritual disciplines? Comment below with your thoughts or shoot me a message.