Karis Church is reading through Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney. Join with us this week as Laura Gutwein reviews chapter three, Bible Intake (Part 2)...for the Purpose of Godliness.
MEMORIZING GOD’S WORD
I love God’s creativity in the way He speaks to us and challenges us. I found it quite humorous that the second page of this chapter mentioned age as an excuse that some use to say that they can’t memorize God’s Word. As one of the “senior” members in Karis Church, I could potentially claim this excuse. Excuse? Seriously, why on earth would I dare to come up with any excuse not to memorize Scripture?
Throughout my high school and college years, I actively memorized many key verses and passages of Scripture. As I've gotten older, however, I've allowed this spiritual muscle to get flabby. When I began reading this chapter a few weeks ago, God used it to convict me, and I've begun to exercise this muscle once again.
I am so much like Peter, who began to sink when he took his gaze off the Savior. I've felt myself sinking a little too much as of late, and realized that focusing on Jesus would be a good challenge for my soul. I found a plan, printed verses out, and have been carrying them with me, pulling them out whenever I get a spare moment. I've discovered that the spiritual flabbiness diminishes when it is exercised! Whitney’s comment on page 39 cannot be emphasized enough, that God’s Word hidden in our heart “can be the weapon that makes the difference in a spiritual battle.” Brothers and sisters in Karis, let’s prepare ourselves for battle! Strategize with others in your fight clubs and make yourselves accountable in this important discipline of memorization.
MEDITATING ON GOD’S WORD
The discipline of meditation brings to mind a cow’s ability to ruminate. Rumination is the process whereby a cow ingests food and brings it back up numerous times in order to get the full benefits of the nutrients. That’s how God wants us to approach Scripture. If we want God’s Word to permeate our lives, we need to read it, digest it, and keep bringing it back up. By outlining 17 methods, Whitney has graciously given some very hands-on ways to make the process of meditation a reality in our walk with Him.
Last year while taking a class in biblical hermeneutics, I learned how to apply method #7, which involves looking at the text Christocentrically. Why is this important? Jesus is the central theme of the Bible. Everything points to Him. It’s His story. We get to know Him more as we understand how the message of Christ is thread throughout the Scriptures. Method #17, meditation mapping, is something that I have not yet tried, but the nerdy linguistic side of me thinks this is a cool idea. If you like diagramming sentences, give this method a whirl! To sum up this section, if we began this chapter feeling as if meditation was beyond our grasp, we leave the chapter excuseless. Let’s be like the righteous man that David described in Psalm 1:2, whose “delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates both day and night.”
APPLyIng God's Word
God is in the business of changing lives, and He has promised that He will do this as we take the time to dig into His Word and ask Him to change us. In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul talks about how his circumstances had caused him to despair even of life, but he makes it clear that God’s purpose in it all was “to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” God used that verse to help me realize that the very circumstances I am in right now are being used by Him to help drive me to Him! Reading Scripture with a gospel-centered lens WILL bring change in your life.
The disciplines discussed in this chapter are not rules being imposed on us by a harsh father. On the contrary, we have a loving Father who knows that as we memorize His Word, we will begin meditating, and as we meditate, His Spirit will use His precious Words to change our hearts and transform us into the image of His Son, Jesus. This, brothers and sisters, should bring great encouragement to our hearts.
QUESTIONS TO PONDer
→ What specific plan will you use to memorize God’s Word? Who will you make yourself accountable to as you do this?
→ Which of the 17 Meditation Methods will you try to help make meditation become a part of your daily discipline?
→ Read 2 Peter 1:3. How does this verse apply to Scripture application? Take time to share with at least two people this week about how reading Scripture has directly impacted your spiritual growth.
Join the conversation by sharing your thoughts on this chapter in the comments below.
This post was written by Laura Gutwein. With a heart to help women connect and grow, Laura serves as the deacon of women in Karis Church. Laura and her husband, Scott, love having a home that's filled with both biological and adopted children.