Recently, I read an article by Jerry Jenkins( author of Left Behind) where he wrote in details his encounters with Billy Graham. The part that struck me was the interview Jerry Jenkins had with this great man of God.
He asked the Evangelist how he maintained his spiritual discipline.
Billy Graham answered by reminding him of the scripture that says we should pray without ceasing.
Jerry Jenkins wanted to probe further, so he asked, ‘You pray without ceasing?’
Billy Graham said he had been doing so since he received Christ at 16 and even as he spoke to Jerry Jenkins, he was praying that everything he would say would glorify God.
The part that amazed me was when Jerry asked about the manner in which he searched the scriptures. Billy Graham’s response has not left my mind ever since.
In Billy Graham’s own words:
‘When I am in someone’s home, a hotel room, my office, my home, I leave my bible open where I can easily notice it. Then I stop and read a verse or two or a chapter or two for an hour or two. This is different from when I prepare for sermons. It is basically for nourishments.’
How beautiful. There is no way we will remain the same if we give priority to God’s word. Yes, I know there are distractions everywhere but that shouldn’t stop us. We can train ourselves to become addicted to God’s Word.
Recently, I’ve been looking at these five steps as I develop my communion with God. Though I get distracted sometimes and fail at one or more of these steps, but I’m gradually noticing that, these things are becoming a part of me and I have been able to see visible changes in my life.
Here are the practical steps you can take in your quest to know more of God.
1. Pick a verse(s) for the day.
Let me give you a peep into my routine. Usually, I pick a topic for the week. I have a study bible and most times, I just note down scripture on that topic. Apart from that, I also use some devotionals where I read the scripture and the notes by whoever wrote it. But I noticed something that bothered me so much. By the time I was out of the house, I would have completely forgotten what I had read.
So I learnt:
Reading the Word is good, but pondering over what you have read is harder but more effective. It takes discipline to get back from work and go over what you read in the morning.
It will definitely take some effort not to quickly jump out of bed, after reading a scripture but to stay with the verses, pondering on them and asking God to open your eyes to deep things in his Word.
You cannot move what you have read in the scriptures from your spirit to your mind without meditation.
When God knows you are desirous to get deep things from Him, He’ll show forth his glory. He knows when your devotion is just to fulfil all righteousness. He knows when your heart is in the business for the day. He knows if truly, you desire to know him more.
Don’t see this as a way of stopping your bible reading plan. Reading has its place. I signed up for about five devotionals on YouVersion appwhich I use through out the day. However, out of all the scriptural references from those devotionals, I usually pick just one or two to meditate on. Meditation is an art that will benefit you greatly. See this scripture:
…His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night, and he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings fruits in his season; his leaf shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalms 1:2,3
Like any good habit, spiritual discipline may seem daunting at first, because your mind contends with a lot of things and in several cases you have to deliberately bring your thoughts to the obedience of Christ.
It is at the place of meditation you receive revelations about Jesus, understanding of the new life realities, freedom from sinful habits and deep things about your spouse and future.
2. Get a journal.
I can see you frowning right now. Writing can be a difficult task, I know. But you need to pen down some things God is saying to you. Our brains are limited in recollecting every factual detail but as God begins to share those deep thoughts, it is important that you quickly put them down in writing. Those scriptures and revelations will encourage you on stormy days, days when you just want to give up or doubt God’s love for you.
Besides, it helps a lot if you get distracted easily. Penning down thoughts as you read the scripture will help you stay focused.
You never can tell the things God will open your eyes to see, as you begin scribbling down a sentence or thought from your devotion. There are many times I wouldn’t know what to write and just after putting down in my journal the verse for the day, God would begin to share deep things that I never would have thought would be connected to that verse.
Single Ladies, it is possible to know certain things about your spouse or your future family even before you meet that man. Of course, you can’t know everything but there are certain vital areas about him that God can reveal to you.
If you are already courting that handsome young man, why not allow God give you a broader perspective about your mission in his life. You don’t have to write everything in your journal. For me, I use certain codes and try not to make my writing legible. But it’s really important not to walk into marriage blind.
Didn’t Jesus say, when the Holy Spirit comes, he will reveal the future to us?
Have you ever wondered what you are on this earth for? Get into the Word and allow God lead you to the blueprint he has set for your life.
3. Practice his presence.
I was stuck in a project recently that brought a feeling of depression. You know I have this confidence in my ability and so it came as surprise when I couldn’t make a headway. I sat there for what seemed like hours and stared at my laptop. It was when I turned to God for help that inspiration began to flow again.
I seriously do not want to wait until I am in fix before turning to him for help. We must learn to God about everything. Our trust and confidence must come from Him alone.
There are many issues we contend with: Emotional issues, nurturing the kids, combining our purpose with the home, singles standing against pressure from families while we wait on God and so on. Praying God’s Word is one way to unburden our hearts.
Again, It is only in God’s presence that we can maintain an atmosphere of joy and peace when faced with difficult circumstances
4. Confess the Word.
I have learnt something so important about the benefit of constantly getting into God’s word and confessing God’s promises. Nagging disappears. You will not be easily infuriated or upset when certain unfortunate incidents come your way. Speaking out what God says when all you want to do is rant and give in to pressure not only calms your mind, it also helps you not to jump from one place to another in anxiety.
Again, confessing who you are in Christ works when you are believing God to get rid of sinful habits. The more you remind yourself who you are in Christ and what He has done for you, the easier it is to get disentangled from that sin.
5. Be willing to obey God’s commands.
The world may have their opinions and ideologies but as women who desire to follow God, our eyes must be fixed on God’s word. The truth is, when you meditate on God’s word and do all of the things I have mentioned earlier, God would cause in your heart such love for him that a strong desire to do his will will consume you even when your flesh kicks against it.
However, the decision to obey remain yours. It is you who will decide whether or not to obey God.
God will not entrust deep secrets to a woman who chooses to go her own way.
A woman of the Word desires to obey God’s Word on submission and will not find a way to twist God’s command just to meet her selfish desires.
This lady knows that God’s command concerning pre-marital sex is clear and she will do whatever it takes to abstain from it. She might have fallen into it a couple of times, but she is, with the help of the Holy Spirit, doing everything to flee.
She doesn’t see gossip as a little sin and rather than sit with other sisters who have nothing to say other than gossip about the other members of the church, she stays away.
When she is tempted to write a different time on the register because she came late to work, even if it would cost her a query or deduction in her salary, she’d rather lose those than disobey God.
Obedience to the little things God is saying is a step to gaining trust in the great things God desires to put in your hands. Our blessings and progress in every area of life are located in God’s instruction.
P.S: None of these steps can be achieved without the help of the Holy Spirit. You will simply burn out if you run in your own strength. Secondly, spiritual disciplines cannot be achieved in a day. Don’t beat yourself if you don’t see much progress immediately.
God is calling women who will give His Word priority. Are you ready for this? I’d love to hear your thoughts.