Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. – Joshua 1:8 (NLT)
Ever struggle to read the bible effectively? Ever picture studying the bible as a massive Goliath in your life that you somehow couldn’t defeat? Ever lose your desire to read the bible or just not have a desire to read it all? Join the club! So many people struggle or have struggled with meditating on the word of God effectively, including myself. So here are some tips and insight that can help you sharpen your “sword” and increase your ability to study and gain insight from the scriptures.
1. Go for what you need! – Many times we look at the bible as this massive giant that seems impossible to overcome when it’s actually a tool to assist us in our walk with Christ. Look at it as a manual. When you purchase an item that you don’t know how to use, I don’t know about you but I only search for what I need. I don’t read the entire thing (although it’s helpful to do so in the long run) because I don’t want to overload myself and miss out on important details. So I only go for what I need and use it accordingly. When I move on to the next step then I will read according to that step.
Same with studying the bible. In the wilderness God rained down manna for the Israelites and told them to only get what they needed. (Exodus 16:4) For those that were unmarried or had no children they would get a little compared to those that had larger families. So instead of looking at the bible for the thousands of pages that it is, study the bible for scriptures that will help you in your current situation.
Let’s say you’re currently struggling with faith or patience. You would search Google or the Concordance (back of the bible) for scriptures that pertain to faith and patience. Then you would meditate on those scriptures by repeating them, writing them down on note cards or in your journal and praying them out loud.
2. The Bank of the Word of God! – Picture the bible as a bank. When you go to a bank you’re either going to make a deposit or withdrawal from your account. When your account is insufficient, it’s impossible to withdraw from that account. (We’ll leave the overdraft protection out of this scenario. Although God’s grace and mercy would be the equivalent of that benefit.) When you meditate on the Word of God, you’re “depositing” scriptures into your bank and building your treasury with Christ. Therefore you can only withdraw what you deposit. So if you’re going through a season where you feel like you’re moving on an empty tank, it’s probably because your “bank” is depleted of funds and you’re attempting to withdraw from an insufficient account.
When the enemy tried to tempt Jesus, he wanted to use Jesus’s flesh to his advantage since he knew that Jesus had just completed a 40 day fast and was very hungry. (Matthew 4:1-11) The enemy also tried to use the word of God against Him by twisting up the scriptures. But since Jesus operated in the spirit of God He was able to eradicate the lies of the enemy with truth from the word. So what can we learn from this scenario? 1. We know that the enemy is the father of lies. (John 8:44) The devil schemed and twisted the word of God to use to his advantage. (As many people in the world try to do in order to justify their unrighteous behavior.) 2. The enemy attempted to seduce Jesus’s flesh. Although the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness after His consecration, the enemy tried to use Jesus’s physical duress against Him. (The enemy must have thought that Jesus would pull an “Esau” and sell His birthright/soul for food. Also known as, allowing a temporary situation to cause you to make a permanent decision.) (Genesis 25:29-34) Unlike Esau who allowed his flesh to lead him, Jesus submitted to the spirit and was able to stand firm in temptation by withdrawing “scriptures” from His account to eradicate the devil’s lies. (John 1:5, Matthew 5:15, 26:24, James 4:7) Since this is the only in depth encounter of the temptation of Jesus in the bible, I believe it was included to illustrate how we should all withstand and overcome the temptation in our lives.
So now that we know that the enemy is nothing but a liar and unfair opponent, how can we use our “bank” to our advantage? Firstly, in order for Jesus to stand firm on the word of God He needed to know the word of God. (The only way you can be aware that something is a lie is to know the truth.) (Ephesians 4:14, Psalm 1:2-3) Since you can’t withdraw from an empty account, by mediating on the word of God, you’re depositing scriptures into your spirit and subconscious that can be regurgitated or “withdrawn” during moments of temptation.
Last but not least, we learn that in order to stand firm against the devil we must first submit to the Lord. The enemy came for Jesus’s flesh just like he comes for ours in our personal lives. The enemy knows that we want to quit our jobs because we can’t stand our supervisor/co-workers; and that we’re having a hard time remaining celibate and can’t seem to walk away from the unfruitful relationships that push us further from Christ rather than closer. Since he knows this, the moment we experience spiritual victory (ending the unfruitful relationship, purchasing a purity ring, praying for that co-worker or supervisor) he will tempt our flesh in hopes that we’ll go back to what God has delivered us from. The enemy will also try to strike up opposition that may cause us to feel like we’ve made the wrong decision in being obedient to God. SN: Be aware that in the temptation of Jesus, the angels of the Lord didn’t come and minister to Him until after the temptation. Although we want God to deliver us as soon as temptation strikes, we must know that all of the trials we endure are not only working for our good but building our character and perseverance. (Romans 8:28, James 1:2-4) The bible doesn’t tell us that we will never go into battle but it does tell us that we will be able to stand firm after the battle!
3. Stand firm by using your sword! – In battle, the sword is a very significant piece of equipment necessary to achieve victory. (I mean duh it is our weapon.) Although it’s only one piece of the full armor, the sword is our only method of attacking the enemy. (Ephesians 6:11-17)
So now that we know how to meditate on the word and deposit the scriptures into our “banks,” we need to know how to make it come to life in our lives. Reading the bible just to check our spiritual time clocks is not only unrewarding to our spirit, but a complete waste of time. Any time you open the word of God, you should want to receive revelation that can be applied to your life. One way to apply the word of God is to believe the truth that comes from it. We show God that we believe His word by operating in accordance with it. What’s the point of meditating on scriptures of sexual purity if we’re going to continue to fornicate and engage in sexual immorality? What’s the point of studying scriptures on faith and perseverance if we’re just going to give up anytime a test comes our way? It may seem impossible to walk by faith and stand firm in the midst of temptation but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26, 1 Corinthians 10:13)
Like I mentioned earlier, the sword is a very important part of our battle-wear but what’s the point of having it if it’s just going to sit in its sheath? If we know in the end that we have the victory, why do we go to the battle afraid or allow the enemy to run us away from the battle? When you’re brandishing something (as in a weapon), you’re waving it in either excitement or anger. So if we were to brandish our sword at a battle, the enemy would either receive that as a taunt or a threat. (Either way it’s not looking good for that opposing team lol) Now don’t get me wrong, we can’t brandish our swords if we’re not confident in our ability or team. What’s the point of taunting or show-boating if we’re only going to lose in the end? (Humility is key, except when it comes to the devil of course. 😉 But we boast in the ability of our God not ourselves.) Since we know that the fight is already fixed, as long as we’re using our swords we can be sure to stand firm in the end with victory! (Doesn’t it feel great to be on the winning team?)
Peace and love.
For the LORD your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and He will give you the victory. – Deuteronomy 20:4 (NLT)
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will be standing firm. – Ephesians 6:13 (NLT)