“If we’re not hungry for Christ, we’re probably too full of ourselves.”
I saw that quote a little while ago and it stopped me in my tracks. I have been in a desert season for quite some time now, years really. And at that moment and for months prior, I was struggling with my quiet time with God. I thought it simply had to do with my circumstances – lack of a solid church home, heavy trials, few local friendships – but that’s just it.
I was too focused on what was or wasn’t going on in my life that I hadn’t turned my eyes to look upon God and seek Him.
It’s understandable. Life can get unbelievably overwhelming and Satan will throw all sorts of distractions and hurts your way so that you aren’t concentrating and pursuing Christ the way you should. The devil loves nothing more than to sway believers in a direction opposite of Christ so their influence is stagnant, empty, and unfruitful. He doesn’t want us to pursue the one true God because he knows the power and impact we would have if we did. One of the ways Satan likes to keep us from being with God is through God’s Word. He will distract us, convince us we don’t have enough time by busying up our schedule, wearing us out with anything and everything. He will feed lies of excuses for us to come up with for not spending time with God.
When I realized this, I was determined to do something about it. I thought about where to start, revamped how my quiet and prayer time would look, and bought a prayer journal for better organization. I decided to study Hebrews for the quiet time and reflect on a Psalm daily for my prayer time. Almost each day I would write my prayer in my journal along with a specific Scripture that I would pray over myself. It took a little while for me to adjust, but I think I’ve got it figured out now (the most important being prioritizing!).
About two and a half years ago when I was working at an amazing summer camp, I was sitting at one of the tables outside the building where the meals take place, studying 1 Peter (a favorite!) when a friend walked by. She stopped and asked how I was studying it. At the time I was using different colored pens to highlight different aspects of a passage, but the colors varied in each passage (a.k.a. very little consistency, but it still helped me better understand them). She showed me hers and it looked very similar. She told me she used Kay Arthur’s Inductive Bible Study method where each color corresponds with a specific aspect. With it being more structured, I decided to use this method too, just modified a little.
For example, this is what I do now:
- A purple triangle highlights everywhere where Christ/God is referenced, both in proper name and the usage of he, his, my, mine.
- If a word is colored green it represents the author and the recipients (such as you, me, I, we, us, they, them.)
- A double underlined word/s in a darker green is an expression of time (e.g. 40 years, 3 days, now, today, tomorrow, etc.)
- A box in blue is a geographical location.
- A circle in pink is a comparison (e.g. wicked are like chaff, LORD is a stronghold, words like silver refined in a furnace) with a line connecting what/who is being compared to what.
- I use black brackets around contrasts (usually only “but”, sometimes “yet”).
- A thick underline in orange is a conclusion (therefore, now, so, since)
- A darker blue is used to number lists (e.g. Fruits of the Spirit; multiple actions or characteristics, behaviors)
- A simple red underline is a command or action.
By doing this I am able to more clearly see the Scripture, how the different parts connect and are important. I am able to answer the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the passage. I am also reading the passage over multiple times focusing on a certain aspect. Now, I’m not saying you have to study Scripture this way but it does help clarify the passage, who the audience is, what is the historical significance of the passage, and what it means for you as a believer now.
The thing is, we need to be actively intentional with spending time with God in His Word. It is crucial to our development as a Christian, to our knowledge of God, to our defense against attacks from the enemy, and the conversion of new believers.
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” 1 Peter 2:12 NIV
“You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 15:12c – 14 ESV
Just like an infant needs milk to grow so it can become strong and handle solid food, we too must consume the Scriptures so we may grow in maturity and continue to dive into the meanings of God’s Word to understand it in full.
“Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:17 NLT
“For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 ESV
“I write to you, fathers [and mothers], because you know Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men [and women], because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” 1 John 2:14 ESV
The Word is our defense, our weapon to fight off the enemy and his lies. When Christ was tempted in the wilderness, the first thing He did in each response to Satan was to quote Scripture.
“‘This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the Word of God.’ ” Luke 8:11 NIV
God’s Word is the seed we use to plant the Truth of God in those who do not know Him. It is by His Word that the Gospel is shared and people come to know salvation. If we do not know the Word, how can we plant seeds? Scripture is vital in the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
“You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and His testimonies and His statutes, which He has commanded you.” Deuteronomy 6:17 ESV
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
The Word is what we have to tell us what God asks of us, in obedience to Him. As believers, there is a godly and moral lifestyle we are to live. His Word is what tells us what that is and how it should look like.
“We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which He has given about His Son.” 1 John 5:9 NIV
Scripture is the history of this world, how man has fallen, but God chose to restore through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son. It explains to us His character and His power; displaying His grace, forgiveness, love, and might. It helps us to better understand Who we serve.
The more time you spend in His Word, the more you recognize His voice amongst all the other noises and voices out there trying to deceive you.
These are just a few of the reasons why being in God’s Word is so vital for us as believers. And they are big reasons!
“In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.” CS Lewis
So friends, I ask you, what are you feeding yourself with? Are you catering to your flesh? To your pride? Taking in secular ways of thought and conduct? Or are you actively consuming truth and wisdom? Filling yourself up with God’s Word? You can’t have both; only one is absolutely necessary and completely satisfies. The other just leaves you wanting more, never really giving you what you need.