A New Year in the Word
This is a personal testimony by Katie Moon…
Its staggering to think about what can happen in a year. I was just reflecting on the past year and realized that at this time last year God was setting me up for the most intimate and intense season of relationship with Him I’ve ever experienced. This time last year I was thoroughly enjoying my Survey of the Old Testament seminary class. I had finished a really great study on the fruit of the Spirit that summer, and was enjoying the freedom that Spirit-empowered self-control brings to a life.
And I was getting ready to head on a 5 day trip to New York City. It was that trip that God used to open my eyes to some serious areas of sin hidden deep in my heart. I had an incredibly fun time in NYC, yet there was this overriding sense in my spirit that something had gone awry within me. For the first time in a while I had lived 5 days with hardly a glance at God’s Word. And without God’s living and powerful Word working in and through me, I’ll be honest, I’m a hopeless wreck. I’m carnal and worldly through and through.
I came home and cried and mourned over the hidden areas of my heart God had shown me. And I determined that that was it and I cannot survive without God’s Word. I simply cannot live without it. From then on out, I would not live even one day without time in the Word and prayer.
Truth be told, God did a serious work in me. I can count on one hand how many times since then I have missed a day in the Word. I had never been so consistently in God’s Word and prayer in my entire life. And let me tell you, it changed my life! There are no words to express what spiritually took place in my life this past year. It was an ongoing delight and exceeding thrill. But please don’t confuse “exciting” and “delight” with ease. It was also humbling, very very humbling. If there was ever a year to be in God’s Word, it was 2013. Man, it was not an easy year. Not at all.
Fast forward to right now. I had me a baby 12 weeks ago tomorrow. Which means that 12 weeks ago today my intense year in the Word was suddenly, surprisingly interrupted. Paused. Halted. Let’s be honest… Obliterated.
So for 12 weeks, on the one hand I’ve experienced the total bliss that takes place when your own flesh and blood enters the world a tiny package of 6 pounds. On the other hand, I’ve been starving. Every day for 12 weeks. Oh I’ve had a few days here and there to study. And they have been wonderfully encouraging times. But for all intensive purposes, the relationship that was so constant, has gone missing.
Maybe not missing. Because God is always with me. I cannot hide from His presence. So it’s not that He is nowhere to be found. It’s just that between a delirium existence of waking up a gajillion odd times a night, rushing all three boys out of the house to drop one off at preschool 3 mornings a week, squeezing in readings on monism, panentheism, the hypostatic union, and the personality of God between feedings, burpings, and nappings, and writing a million thank you cards for people’s amazing kindness and generosity to a couple of tired parents, I have not been physically able to wake for my normal 5am still and quiet and awe-fill times with the Lord, our Father in Heaven. Oh how I’ve prayed this little one would start sleeping through the night, like NOW, so I can return to them. But alas, this has not yet taken place.
So what is a person to do?
Here are a few conclusions I’ve come to over these overwhelming yet joy-filled past several weeks:
- I miss my Lord.
- I don’t know who I am without Him.
- I am less patient, kind, gentle (and a host of other things) without a daily dose of His Word.
- My life feels like I’m walking sideways, on a wall, kitty-wompus, without deep relationship with HIm. It just doesn’t make sense. And is meaningless.
- Parents of young-ins need prayer.
- This is how many (maybe most of us in the Church) function on a regular basis.
- This is how I used to function. Most of my Christian life. Even when I really loved God and His Word.
- This is no way to live. If you want to really live.
You know, even though I haven’t been in the Word much these past weeks, I’ve still been reading about God. It’s been very enlightening, interesting, exciting even. And I’m so glad to be learning more about my Creator. Yet, reading such literature does not compare to reading and studying God’s living Word. It has not fulfilled me deep inside as only His Word can and does.
Here’s what I know about next year. If the Lord would tarry in His return, I want to be in God’s Word just as much, if not more than last year. I must be in His Word every day of life the Lord graces me with. Christians were created anew to be people of the Word. We were not meant to live without it. We cannot live without it if we want our lives to resemble Christ in any way. Without it, our lives are a hollow show of the will. Yet we cannot will our lives to look like His. I’ve tried it. So many times. It doesn’t work. We fool no one but ourselves… and even that is only possible for a time.
Dear brother and sister in Christ, If anyone has an excuse to not be in His Word, today that’s me. I have a brand new baby. Yet none of us really has a lasting excuse to not be in His Word. Yes, there are times and seasons that will complicate life and make it nearly impossible to commune closely with the Lord Almighty. But press on. We must press on to have the discipline of daily time in the Word.
Here are a few things we can do to establish not only the discipline to make daily time in the Word, but the desire/longing to have daily time in the Word:
1. If at first reading your Bible feels like duty alone, press on. If you do, it is likely to become delight and longing in your heart.
2. If you’re not there yet, pray to be there.
3. Be willing to do whatever it takes to establish a regular time in the Word. If you are not a morning person, but it would be the best time to meet with the Lord in His Word, go to bed earlier and establish the discipline to get up early anyways. This is my own story. And it has been worth every painful dark morning! In fact, I’ve changed. I LOVE waking up early now. Because I know I’m waking to spend concentrated time with the Lord. If you need to quit an activity or even a hobby because its the extra thing that keeps you from a daily study of Scripture, quit it. It’ll be worth it. These aren’t hard rules. Just figure out what takes your time or distracts you from the Word, and take any measure necessary to make sure Word-time takes place.
4. Choose Scripture to study that corresponds directly with your life circumstances or particular current interests. Last year I went through a season of one particular kind of suffering. So I turned to 1 Peter, a book with a major theme of suffering. I became so passionate about and fascinated with the book and its human writer. It became a tremendous encouragement to me in that season as well as transformed how I responded to it. Later in the year, I came to understand that I’d never really come to understand how much I’m loved by God. I intellectually knew that it was the case, but I didn’t spiritually comprehend. When we do, His love transforms us on basically every level, including our ability to truly love others selflessly. So I turned to John’s writings. Especially his gospel and 1 John. John was the “disciple whom Jesus loved”. John was the only one in Scripture to call himself that. He really got this concept. And he also wrote constantly about the love of Christ. And so I knew I must study His work. I’m actually still studying His writing. I have been for months. It’s been such a deep source of joy. Likewise, when I’ve had theological questions, I go and find Scripture throughout God’s Word and study it systematically. And it’s always an enlightening and fulfilling study. You see, when you choose to study a passage that deals with your exact issues or interests, it charges you up further to be in His Word.
5. (Just one more for this post.) Pursue Christ as you read. Make your goal not just growing in understanding, knowledge, or wisdom. Those are very important parts of our faith walk to be sure. But even more important is knowing Christ personally. This is the butter to the bread of studying God’s Word. The Bread of Life Himself can be personally and intimately known as a result of being in His Word. He is the incarnate Word that the written Word is intrinsically tied to. You cannot know Christ in truth without studying the truth. A simple thing I will do as I read is respond to Christ as I read. I write in my Bible, so I often will write not just notes or thoughts, but prayers of response. Sometimes its a question like, “What does this mean Lord?” Other times is a request like, “I want this to be true of me. Please Lord!” Other times it’s worship like, “Wow! You amaze me Father! I praise You!”
People, we MUST be people continuously in God’s Word. We aren’t meant for a spiritual life of just surviving. We are meant for a spiritual life of really living. Living in completeness in Christ. In victory. And living a life of service for the glory of the Lord. We can neither transform in character, nor really serve to God’s glory, if we’re not equipped and transformed by His Word.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Being a person of the Word will make you a person of passion, purpose, joy, fruit, and security. You’ll grow in your likeness to Christ. And even better, you’ll grow in your relationship with Christ. As a result you’ll be more and more able to glorify the Lord with your life. Which is the very purpose of our existence! Yes, indeedy, we must be people of the Word. Make 2014 a year submerged in His Word. May you come to 2015 soaking wet with the life-giving, Christ-knowing Scriptures of God. Yes, press on.