“You are slow to learn.” I read this in Hebrews today and thought, Oh my. Then I read further, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers…” I am a teacher of the Word, yet, many times feel I’m still on a diet of pabulum. Reading a little further… I understood the reason God stopped me in these verses. “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
“Who by constant use have trained … “Another word for trained – “applied”. I cannot stop at simply reading the Bible and learning all I can about God’s Word; I must go beyond… on to application of the Word! If I don’t apply what I read to my everyday actions and thoughts, I’m missing the point. I miss out on the value God’s Word. It would be like buying a bottle of vitamins, reading the ingredients and setting the bottle back on the shelf, never swallowing a single pill; the power and benefit of the vitamin left untouched.
Applying God’s Word to my life can challenge me beyond my comfort zone; conviction of sin in my life never a beautiful picture. Coming face-to-face with a character flaw needing to be tweaked or completely changed is never comfortable. If I’m to become all, God has created me to be, I must relinquish self. I must choose to read His Word with a heart willing to change, ears willing to hear, and a mind willing to surrender what it thinks it knows as truth.
As a teacher of the Word of God, I often read Scripture with my students in mind. While good for my students it cannot become my only purpose for reading. I need to read the Word of God for me and allow His word to speak to me; if I’m always reading for others I am missing the mark, big time! Using the vitamin analogy above; I am providing others the necessary vitamins, but never taking them myself.
How do we do that? How do we distinguish when it’s us vs. God speaking? There is no right or wrong way, as God speaks to each of us individually. This is what works for me, perhaps it will work for you too (would love to hear back from you).
- Read with Anticipation: When I sit down to read God’s Word I read it with the mindset of hearing God speak through His Word. Trusting in faith I will hear Him speak.
- Write out your request – a.k.a. journaling: Journaling a huge tool towards understanding and hearing God speak to me personally. Journaling does not need to be lengthy or in full sentences; bullet points work really well. Journaling helps me see patterns and helps me determine my voice vs. God’s.
- Be still and listen: Vitally important. I must sit quietly before God and listen for His voice. I have asked Him to speak to me and I must choose to have faith the thoughts I hear are coming from Him (one reason journaling is key to the process) and recording those thoughts in my journal.
- Record Scripture: Key to discovering the patterns of conversation, and keeping on target, is writing down the Scripture passage where I felt God speaking. Huge encouragement also, for those tough times when I find myself doubting God. I can go back through my journals and see where God has worked, sometimes miraculously.
The prayer: “Lord, I’m hungry for more of you. In Exodus 33:18 Moses asks you to show him your glory. He asks without hesitation – with confidence and boldness. I desire the kind of relationship where I feel confident in coming before you. Lord, I struggle to hear your voice these days. I struggle to know where you are leading. I struggle to have the relationship which I’ve had before.”
What I heard: “Remember Lot’s wife? She looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Sandra, if you’re always looking back, like a pillar of salt you will stay stuck. You will not move forward. You will not embrace that which you already have and you’ll miss out on the joys of the journey ahead. You miss your mom and her voice. You don’t really remember her voice; as the years pass the memory of her voice grows dim. Sandra, if you don’t spend time with me, you too will forget the sound of my voice. What you seek is right before you. What you’re craving is spiritual food. Spiritual milk is for babies. It is time you got back to drinking living water from my well and eating meat. Spiritual food on which you can chew!!!
The Scripture: This is the Scripture reference I read “And this is the word that was preached to you. Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Bottom line: I was craving the relationship, something I already had, and leaving the Spiritual food on the counter. I need both to survive.
God’s word is alive and active today. I can give you example, after example, after example. A heart surrendered to God will always hear from God. It won’t always be what I want to hear. He won’t always answer in the way I desire; but I guarantee you He will answer.
Until next time,