Last month, we discussed the basics of Bible reading and understanding what God is saying. Isn’t it great that God gave us a whole book to explain the depth of His love for us? Written by so many people, passed through the hands of countless individuals, down the line of history, to make it to you. That is exceptional, extravagant love, my friends.
To really get the most out of the Scriptures, something that often helps me is meditating on the Word. I pick a verse that applies to my current situation and repeat it over and over. Before I know it, my thought process is changing, and I am thinking a little more like Christ.
Next, find out what part of the Bible you need to be studying. Where are you at in life right now? Are you just learning the basics of who God is? Try Genesis and one of the gospels. Maybe you are working hard with your church and looking for advice. Where better to turn than the letters to the churches, such as Ephesians or 1st and 2nd Timothy?
Prayerfully look at where God has placed you, and see what parts of scripture may apply most directly to your life in the present. This is actively seeking God’s wisdom, and I know He will bless you for that!
The Bible is a huge resource for our faith as Christians. It teaches us the story of Jesus and God’s character. But, I believe God has given us even more ways to learn His will. One of these ways is prayer.
Prayer looks a little different for everyone. A way that works for me is to take a moment to focus, reminding myself that this is God that I’m talking to, who is capable of anything and loves me unconditionally. Then I start with whatever is on my heart – be it a person, an idea, or just how I am feeling. It’s important to be honest, because we can’t hide anything from God anyway.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”right”]Prayer takes our own desires, and transforms them as we start to think more and more like Jesus.[/pullquote]
A good thought I’ve heard is to always end with praise, just like David did in Psalms, which is a great resource for learning about talking to God. Prayer takes our own desires, and transforms them as we start to think more and more like Jesus. Our mindset shifts. Soon, the things we want will be the same things that God wants.
I recently attended a weekend retreat with my church and was reminded that God’s family is also a great source for drawing closer to Him and being reminded of His will. When we spend time with like-minded believers, they pick us up when we are down, and inspire us to keep serving God.
Our friends who are not Christians are still our friends, but they won’t encourage our spirituality the same way our church family will. So get involved! Help with a class, make a friend, and find a way to serve. You’ll be glad you did.
And let’s not over-spiritualize this. Imagine for a moment that life is a staircase. The top of the stairs look far away, as though you can never get there. So how do you start? We start with one step.
I have asked God to show me His will for my life many times. And then I sit there and wait. And wait and wait and wait. Nothing really happens when I’m expecting white doves to descend with the scroll of destiny.
So, I started praying something else: God, show me the next step. I can handle one step, that’s manageable. It might be small – take a class, help with a church activity, or it might require a major life change. Whatever it is, take that one step. Then, pray the same thing again, and take another. Before you know it, you’ll be climbing the staircase.
Remember that God usually explains things simply. When He wants us to know something, He repeats it frequently! Look for these patterns in Scripture.
You are a person who wants to let God lead you. I believe that as deeply as I know the sky is blue. If your heart is set on loving God and loving others, you really can’t go wrong.
“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” -James 4:8
Search the Bible, pray, ask questions, and keep your heart set on love!
And this illustrious Plan for our lives – may I just say I think we make a very large deal of this? We want to know God’s will, and we get worried when we don’t know what the plan is. The plan is to love God and people! That’s what the whole Bible is about!
I am convinced that God is not as concerned with what we do as He is that our hearts are obedient to Him. As long as we are trying to know God better, we are inside God’s plan. Trust me, if there is something specific God is calling you to, He will make it clear.
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