Monday, April 8, 2024

How to Saturate Yourself in the Word of God

“The Bible- banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it is more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints. Pieced together scraps of Scripture have converted whole whole villages of pagan Indians.”
― Charles Colson

What is every Christian in the entire universe told to do constantly? Three words: Read your Bible.

That is a good thing to tell a believer to do. Read that Bible. Read it and reread it!

You see many believers who spend a year going through the entire bible. Again this is a good thing.

But we’re going to talk about how to go deeper with your Bible reading time. We will really not be talking about simply reading the Bible. We will be talking about absorbing the Bible. Making the Bible part of your mind. Putting the Bible in your heart and letting it change your heart.

I think many times when we read the Bible we go at it like a sprint. I’m going to cover as much ground as humanly possible! I’m going to get as far as I can and say, "Alright I read that entire chapter." But did I really absorb it?

So we’re going to look at three ways to do more than just read the Bible, but absorb what it says and embrace what it says and live what it says.

1. Putting yourself in the Moment
– Not every scripture will allow us to be in the moment with the people involved because much of it is song or letter. But, for passages from the life of Jesus, or Acts or the Old testament histories, we can put ourselves in the place.

What did it feel like to be there? What did it smell like? What were the people feeling in that moment?

One example, the resurrection of Jesus. What did it feel like to be there? What was it like for the women at Jesus’ tomb to feel the earthquake, to see the angel, and to be filled with both fear and joy?

Let’s take a look at that moment, it says, Matthew 28:1-7, “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.””

What was it like to be there? Picture yourself in that moment. What would you feel? Would you be shocked or terrified? Was it a sunny morning? Was there still dew on the ground? Immerse yourself in the moment.

It's one thing to read it. It’s another thing to put yourself in those events and consider what it must’ve felt like.

Powerful! It will make the scripture more meaningful to you. More close to your heart. More real to you.

2. Reciting the Scriptures - Second, reciting the scripture to yourself. This is again an extremely powerful way of taking the scripture from the page and bringing it into life.

Jesus said blessed are those who receive my word and put it into practice. Not just receive it. But apply it.

One that you know that I recite in prayer every day is the armor of God from Ephesians 6:10-18, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

But you want to personalize it when you recite scripture. Another scripture I recite in the mornings is Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” But make it personal: "I say this the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Another I like to recite is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

When you recite it, you declare it over your life. You begin to claim the promise of that scripture.

When I put on the armor, I know as I pray it, that I’m putting on the armor of God, it’s real. I see in my mind the pieces of the armor of God coming upon my body. Yes, it's metaphorical. I also believe something literal happens in the spiritual realm. 

I don't just recite, I believe that it's really real and really happening.

3. Believe the Scripture / Receive the Promise -
And that leads into our third point, which is to believe the scripture or to receive the promise of the scripture you recite.

This is where it gets deep. You take a scripture from the page, and you read it yes, you declare it yes, but more so, you now embrace it and believe what it says about you.

I’ll give you an example. One I’ve been believing is 2nd Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.”

A surface reading of that scripture says, well that’s nice. But we’re not gonna stop there.

Reciting the scripture says yes these things are true in general.

But again we’re not gonna stop there.

What we do next is to believe the scripture is true about me, right now.

I do not have a spirit of fear. And you require that of your heart and mind, to come into alignment with what God is saying in that scripture.

God has given me a spirit of power.

God has given me a spirit of love.

God has given me a spirit of a sound mind.

I don’t just read or recite it, I believe it, and I embrace it. I let it soak in. That takes reading and speaking it again and again, even every day, every morning. Eventually you memorize that scripture. And you recite it, and as you do, you believe it.

And over time your heart and mind come into alignment with the scripture. You really do start to have a spirit of love, of power, and of a sound mind. And you really begin to lose that spirit of fear. 

The power is in believing and knowing that God’s word is really true. And if God’s word is really true, then it must be true about me because I’m a Christian. If my mind hasn’t caught up yet, then my mind must be required to come into alignment with what God’s word says.

That’s why God gave us scripture, so that we would believe that it’s really true, and really applies to our lives.

And when we really believe God’s word is true and we begin to apply it, then we change.

Of course it’s not going to be enough to just believe the scripture, we will want to apply the scripture. We will want to live the scripture. But as we believe it, we will apply it, because we really believe it.

I think many Christians struggle, I’ve struggled, because I don’t really believe what God’s word says about me. I think it’s true. But I don’t really believe it’s true about me. But it is. It is true about me. And as I believe that… then it is. Because I believe it.

That’s the power of believing.

What if we believed and recited the promises of these seven scriptures? Read them, and believe them, speak them out loud over yourself in the Spirit! 

Philippians 4:19 ESV And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Isaiah 41:10 ESV Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

Romans 8:28 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

1 John 1:9 ESV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Isaiah 43:2 ESV  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

What if we really believed those scriptures? What if we really made them part of our heart? What if we spoke them as promises over and over? How would our lives change?

I think we would become more and more people of victory, people who really believe what God says, and we would find great spiritual victories.

In conclusion today, as you read your Bible, or listen to your audio bible, or read your bible app, remember to stop, slow down, and focus in on portions of scripture.

First, imagine what it was like to be there. Put yourself in that situation.

Second, speak the scripture, recite it to yourself. Pray it over yourself and others.

Third, believe the scripture as you read it. Believe what it says about you. And you’ll see yourself begin to change as you apply God’s word to your heart, and live out what it says.