So many people read the Bible and yet they are no better off, and so many fail to grasp that the Bible, as the living Word of God, is able to supply every answer to their troubled circumstances and yet they do not so benefit because of the absence of thinking.
Many believers when they do their devotions set aside too little time to benefit properly from their reading this majestic book, the Bible, for they read it just before bedtime when they are tired and sleepy or just before they run off to work and in both cases do not engage their thinking faculties to any appreciable extent.
We know of people who read the Bible neither to be guided by its teachings nor to mine the depths of its offering to be closer to God and doing his will but for a purely academic exercise as if they are preparing for some kind of examination.
Reading the Bible is commendable, and the more we read the better, but the whole intent of reading the Bible is to get to know God better and to access the everyday food for the nourishment of the soul.
Spiritual malnourishment is a disease that can only be cured by carefully studying the word of God and following its guidance by applying its principles, upholding its values and endorsing its sentiments. More, its feasting on God's Word, its relishing every thought and suggestion and through the grace of God engraving it into our everyday living so that we are not just hearing the Word but making it come alive in our heart and mind and soul.
It is when you think seriously on the Word of God that your mind transcends the normal foibles of mundane living and approach the realm of the majestic heavenly things that God has for us. No one of his own free will can approach the ultimate blessing, nor can he completely appreciate the abundant joys and unspeakable provisions God has provided for us by our spirit, soaring on wings of spiritual enlightenment through the Word, makes the realisation possible.
There are times of devotion when time stands still, as it were, and you are staggered as to what you thought were just a few minutes turn out to be so time consuming. And all because as your spirit becomes engaged in the beautiful maze of biblical discovery you are apt to forget everything else other that marvelling at the glorious discoveries.
As you meditate, as you peruse the beautiful scriptures, you are almost compelled to look around the next corner and then the next and the next for each beautiful concept leads to another and you feel you are missing something if you stop there and so you go just a little further. This is because you know that it is beneficial to think of these glorious things for your soul's development. Paul puts it like this:
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8)
So do not limit yourself to doing your devotions, and meditations, when the constraints of time become critical because of work or bedtime, but find time other than these to have a more leisurely approach to this short religious service that is so valuable to your spiritual well-being.
The next time you do your devotional try this.
Without the Bible think of your favourite verse of scripture, like "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Then think of what God is saying to YOU.
Remember that God says different things to different people and the KEY is to understand what God is saying to YOU. This is the true nature of a devotional or meditation.
God is saying here TRUST ME, trust me now, trust me today and going forward trust me without fear. But how am I to trust God?
As you meditate, ask yourself some questions, and think carefully about your responses.
Am I trusting God the way I should? If not why not?
Am I allowing some doubts to creep in? Is there some uncertainty affecting me?
Am I becoming anxious about something? Am I fretful and nervous?
Am I denying something that I should face up to now? If so, what is it?
Am I in the right place for God to work in and through me? Is my soul right with God? If God should put in his appearance now am I ready?
These are important questions and can be applied to any scripture read or memorised and by obedience and submission to God's will, He will lead you to where He wants you to be and your devotional will be to his glory and your joy and delight.
DEVOTIONAL PRAYER: God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. AMEN
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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013