Monday, January 26, 2015

Becoming Like God...In His Word (Part 2, 1 of 3)

Most people like to receive letters. Consider, especially, receiving a letter from someone you haven't seen in long time. Often, we read, re–read, and meditate on these letters until we know their message by heart. Well, the Bible is God's message to us – like a letter from afar. Augustine once said, “The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.”

If that is true, and I think it has some truth in it, then should we not ready, study, memorize, meditate on, and cherish God's letters to us at least as much as we would a letter from a loved one that writes to us?

Last week, I asked the following question: If your growth in godliness were measured by the quality of your Bible intake, what would be the result? And again, we can't change the past, but we can learn from it. We can't change the past, but we can affect our future. Philippians 3.13 – forgetting what lies behind and straining forward for what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Our emphasis last week was on three aspects of our first discipline – Bible intake. Those aspects were that we should Hear God's Word, Read God's Word, and Study God's Word. This week, we are going to add three more and all can be found within Psalm 119.11 – Memorizing God's Word, Meditating on God's Word, and Applying God's Word.


I have stored your Word...! 

If you memorized this many years ago, you may have learned this verse with the word HID or HIDDEN, not stored. The ESV uses stored. The NAS uses treasured. The Hebrew word – tsaphan – means any of these three words. However, in English, the word “hidden” sometimes has a more negative impact. We hide because we don't want others to find something. Thus, the idea of storing up – so it is ready to use when needed, fits well for the idea of memorizing God's Word. And certainly, it is ideal to “treasure” God's Word.

Let me give you five benefits. Memorizing God's Word:
  1. Supplies Spiritual Power.  Colossians 3.2
  2. Strengthens you Faith.  Proverbs 22.17–19
  3. Prepare Us for Witnessing & Counseling – overcoming “I don't know what to say.”  Acts 2.14–40
  4. Provide a Means of Guidance.  Psalm 119.24 – how to live; Ephesians 4.29 – what to say
  5. Stimulates Meditation.  Psalm 119.97
One song, "Thy Word", is based on Psalm 119.105. God's word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Consider a time when the power in your home goes out. If you know where a flashlight is, you can use it to find your way during the power outage. However, if you know you have a flashlight, but do not know where it is, it is of no help. Likewise, if it does not have batteries, it is of no use. Of course, in today's world a cell phone app with a flashlight will help, but only if your phone has is charged. This, it may help to know where a verse is, or even where your Bible is, but if you are "charged up" having memorized God's Word, you can find your way when life presents its challenges.

In Part 2, I will provide a few points regarding Meditation and the principle of Application. In Part 3, I will provide a series of options for how to apply the aspects of Memorization and Meditation.
Parts of this series is adapted from Donald Whitney's book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.

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