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Tips for making the most out of your time in the Word.

Today I want to challenge you to take a new approach to reading the Bible by doing one of my favorite things: reading the Bible as a workbook.

 

I long for this to be a place where we can take off our perfect Christian masks and just be real with each other, so I will start.

I write in my Bible.  And sometimes I miss my time with Jesus.

The number one reason I miss time with God is because I am selfish.  I want to get started tackling my to do list before the girls wake up and all of the focus turns towards getting them ready for school and my work day.

How about you?  What holds you back from spending time in the Bible?

My second reason is because I don’t always know what to read.  I ask myself, “Should I start a new book of the Bible?  Should I read a passage I am familiar with or a new one?  Old Testament or New?”  And before I know it, I’ve spent more time wondering what to read than actually reading it!  Ahhhhh!

Many of us are also intimidated by the Bible…how do I read it?  What if I don’t know what it means?  What if I read it wrong?

Fear and intimidation paralyze us from just jumping into God’s Word.  For many of us, when we think about reading the Bible, our minds automatically equate it to reading a text book.  After all, the Bible is thousands of years old!  When we approach it as a text book…we read it, try to comprehend it, and hope we remember the stuff needed to pass the test of life.

But today I want to challenge you to take a new approach to reading the Bible by doing one of my favorite things: reading the Bible as a workbook.  When I do this you will catch me writing in the Bible, taking notes in the margin or in my journal, personalizing Bible verses, and interacting with the Scriptures.  My desire for my time in the Word is not to say, “Well, I read today, so I’m good.” Instead my desire is to walk away changed, and for me, I accomplish that better when I am engaging with what I am reading.

Today I want to demonstrate for you what I mean as we walk through a very familiar passage. The famous LOVE IS passage.

About five years ago, I did a blog series called LOVE IS.  You can check it out here: LOVE IS.  The blog series was born as my reflections to the sermon series that was being preached at a church we were visiting at the time.  The series was so impactful that we have been at that church ever since, and we love calling it home.  In the years since that sermon series these particular Bible verses have significantly impacted the way I interact with my family and the world.

So let’s take a few minutes and walk through these verses approaching the Bible as a workbook rather than a text book.

Text book reading:

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  {I Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV}

List each attribute in my journal.  Maybe memorize the verse, pray and go about my day.

However…if I am reading this passage as a workbook, I might pause for a moment, read it again, and ask, myself:

What words stick out for me? Why?

What is my core reaction to this passage?

Did God prompt my heart with a conviction in this passage?

Is there someone specific that popped in my head while I read this passage?

Is that someone I need to love better, or someone whom I wish would love me better?  Or both?

Is there one specific attribute of love I can focus on demonstrating today?

I even might go so far as rewriting the passage and personalizing this passage by substituting my name for the word “love.”  And asking myself, is this re-written passage true?

My desire is to be open to hear what God has to teach me in that moment.  Personally, I like using a journal to track these thoughts, convictions and encouragements.  So I typically have my journal and a pen with me when I am reading God’s Word.

Recently, I was being a bit of a cranky mama and not dealing well with the stress surrounding my life, and I was being particularly cranky with one of my girls more than the other.  One particular morning, I was reading through this passage, and I got through, “Love is patient, love is kind.”

That was all my heart could take…I was so convicted that I was not being patient or kind with my little one that I stopped there and wrote in my journal and prayed.

I took time to pray that God would give me the strength and the courage to display these qualities of love to my daughter.  I journaled moments I knew could be a trigger for my crankiness, and I made a commitment to myself to get through these moments with grace.  I also wrote, “Be patient. Be kind.” on my whiteboard in my office to remind myself to live this verse out throughout the day.  And in the moments when I was stressed, I made myself take a time out and step away for a moment and tell myself, “Be patient.  Be kind.”  It was amazing to see how much more aware I was of my attitude just because of the few moments I took walking through this passage that day and making a choice to live it out.

My goal that day wasn’t just to open my Bible,  read it, and check off another task on my holy to do list.  NO! My heart longed to be changed.  And it was.  Now, I’m not perfect, and I’m not telling you that I haven’t been cranky since then, but I have been much more aware of my tone of voice and every day I am striving to love my family better.

In the comments I would love to hear how you approach the Bible.  What do you do to make God’s Word come alive?  How do you let it influence you after you walk away from your time with God?  How do you make it ‘stick’?  How do you move Scripture from your head to your heart?

This week, I have a fun way for you to interact with Scripture.  It is one example of how to approach Scripture as a workbook that can change your heart, mind and life and impact the way you live in this fallen world. It is a free worksheet that I would love to share with you.

To grab the free worksheet, click here, and I’ll email it right over!

Keep reading God’s Word and letting it change your heart!

Until next Tuesday,

Faith

Click Here for this week’s free resource: 5 Days to Learning To Love Better

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