“The Bible wasn’t given to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives”. –DL Moody
Spiritual growth is the process of replacing lies with truth. God’s Word generates life, creates faith, produces change, frightens the devil, causes miracles, heals hurts, builds character, transforms circumstances, imparts joy, overcomes adversity, defeats temptation, infuses hope, releases power, cleanses our minds, brings things into being, & guarantees our future forever.
Abiding in God’s Word.
-I must accept its authority. The Bible must become the compass I rely on for direction, the counsel I listen to for making wise decisions, & the benchmark I use for evaluating everything. Many of our troubles occur because we base our choices on unreliable authorities: culture “everyone is doing it”, tradition “we’ve always done it”, reason “it seems logical”, or emotion “it just felt right”. The most important decision we can make today is to settle this issue of what will be the ultimate authority for our lives. Decide that regardless of culture, tradition, reason, or emotion, we choose the Bible as our final authority.
-I must assimilate its truth. There are 5 ways to do this: We can receive it, read it, research it, remember it, & reflect on it. Jesus identified 3 unreceptive attitudes—a closed mind (hard soil), superficial mind (shallow soil), & a distracted mind (soil with weeds). He said “Consider carefully how you listen”. Anytime we feel we aren’t learning anything from a sermon or a Bible teacher, we should check our attitude, especially pride, because God can speak through even the most boring teacher when we are humble & receptive. Warren advises if we will read the Bible just 15 minutes a day, we will completely read thru it once a year. Simply just cut out one 30 minute tv program daily, & we will completely read it in just 6 months.
Daily Bible reading keeps us in range of God’s voice. The difference between researching the Bible from reading it involves 2 additional activities: asking questions of the text & writing down our insights. Warren tells us the secret of good Bible study is simply learning to ask the right questions.
Remembering it is the 4th way to abide in God’s word. We may think we have poor memories, but the truth is we remember what is important to us. If God’s Word is important, we will take the time to remember it. Our memory is like a muscle, the more we use it the stronger it will become.
Reflecting is the 5th way to abide in His Word, “meditation”. Meditation is “focused thinking” & takes serious effort. No other habit can do more to transform our lives & make us more like Jesus than daily reflection on Scripture.
-I must apply its principles. Without implementation, all our Bible studies are worthless. In a Bible study discussion group, other people will help us to see insights we would miss & help us apply God’s truth in a practical way. Jesus said: “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them”.
Warren tells us the best way to become a “doer of the Word” is to always write out an action step as a result of our reading or studying or reflecting on God’s Word. This action step should be personal, practical, & w/a deadline. Every application involves either our relationship to God, to others, or our personal character.
Question to Consider: What has God already told me in His Word that I haven’t started doing yet?
I don’t use the Bible, but my faith & conviction in God as the benchmark for evaluating everything I do. This is because I don’t make the time to study the Bible. I realize if I want it to be the ultimate authority for my life, it isn’t enough to readily receive it in church, but I must research, remember & reflect on it.
* We will be writing about what inspires us from each consecutive chapter of Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. If you read along with us, please share your inspirations. There’s no need to catch up, just jump right in.