10 Ways to Engage More Deeply With God’s Word This Year By Britnee Bradshaw
10 Ways to Engage More Deeply With God’s Word This Year
By Britnee Bradshaw
The wonderful thing about God’s Word is that it has the power to change everything about our lives! It aligns us more closely with the heart of God. When we walk in the truth of His Word, we are being transformed in a radical way.
God is working in us, by way of His Holy Spirit, to make us more and more like Christ. This is a lifelong journey in which we never arrive this side of heaven. We have the hope that when we see Christ face to face, we will be just like Him (1 John 3:2). But, until that moment, we are tasked with knowing and walking in the Word of God in our day to day, using it to sharpen, encourage, and empower ourselves.
I’ve created a list of 10 ways we can engage more deeply with God’s Word this year so that our lives can look, feel, and be more like Christ’s. I hope this lists helps you in your personal pursuit of God’s Word and that you are encouraged to engage with it more deeply this year than ever before!
1. Prioritize Quiet Time
This seems pretty self-explanatory, and perhaps even easy, but you’d be amazed at how much time can pass us by without spending quiet, intentional time with God when we are simply doing life! Life gets fun, busy, or hard, and we can look up and realize that we haven’t spent that time with God in 2 or 3 days. We can’t sustain a Christian lifestyle on the fumes of a Sunday sermon. Being quiet before the Lord everyday deepens our relationship with Him, and in turn, it strengthens our ear to hear Him speak to us. Engaging the Word of God is no good if we don’t prioritize engaging the actual person of God, and doing so on a daily basis. This isn’t to condemn ourselves if we miss a day of quiet time with Him. Rather, it’s to pull us back to that secret place so that we can be filled enough to engage His word, and to engage it with a right heart.
2. Choose Scripture Each Day to Meditate On
After we’ve had our quiet time with the Lord, it’s very easy to go on about our day without truly meditating on what we’ve studied. To meditate means to think deeply or carefully on, or to rehearse, something for a period of time. I’ve found that what helps me to engage more strongly with God’s word is to be intentional about thinking about it and using it throughout my day! So, for instance, if I get on social media (which I absolutely will because I love social media!) I may make a post about the Scripture that I read earlier and what I learned from it. And then, converse with others who comment on the post. Or, I will find a worship song that parallels with the Scripture I read and play it throughout my home. The more we surround ourselves with God’s Word, the more it will become embedded in our hearts and the more we will begin to live out of the truth we are dwelling on.
3. Talk about the Word in Your Day-to-Day
This is probably one of my favorite ways to engage the Word of God. Incorporating His Word into the rhythms of our lives is, essentially, what makes us more like Christ! I love weaving Scripture into my normal routine like cooking dinner, or watching tv. There is no part of our lives that there isn’t Scripture for! We don’t have to be super deep about this either. It can be as simple as asking ourselves, “Am I cooking food that is going to help build my temple (body) and strengthen it, or is this meal going to hurt it or tear it down?” It is so easy to live by the Word when we actually apply it to the day to day moments of our lives.
4. Flip Moments of Frustration or Anger Into Teachable Moments
Our emotions are given to us by God. And most of the time, not all, but most, we are justified in feeling the emotions we feel. What matters is how we interact with those emotions! So, when we feel frustrated or angry, we can take the emotion itself as a sign that we need to bring God’s Word into the situation. This is part of being on guard, which Scripture reminds us about, but it also serves as a way to engage Scripture in the hard moments. The hard moments are some of the best times to use Scripture because it strengthens our ability to not submit to our emotions, but to submit to Christ’s lordship over our lives!
5. Invite the Holy Spirit Into Your Prayer
Prayer is our direct communication to our Heavenly Father. It’s through and by prayer that we understand who we are and what God wants us to do. It’s also through prayer that we build a beautiful relationship with Him. Sometimes, our prayers can be convoluted with our own desires for ourselves vs God’s desires for us. There’s nothing wrong with us asking for things in prayer! However, that shouldn’t be the reason we pray. We pray to know God’s will and understand what he desires, so that we can walk in that. When we pray through Scripture, that is one powerful way we affirm and remind ourselves of the will of God.
One thing that I’ve been working to implement in my prayer life is asking the Holy Spirit to come and be an active participant. To speak to Him, and then to still my heart and mind and allow Him to speak back to me. The Holy Spirit knows all the secrets of Heaven and he reveals all things to us as he is led by the Father (1 Cor 2:10-12). He (the Holy Spirit) knows the mind of God and will help us to pray effectual prayers!
6. Pray For a Heart that Breaks for the Things that Breaks God’s Heart
Psalm 51:17 tells us that a broken and contrite heart should be our sacrifice before the Lord because it is that type of sacrifice that he will not despise. As I meditate on this Scripture, I am challenged to truly look at my life, my community, my world, and be filled with compassion and empathy vs judgment and criticism. Honestly, doing this brings me to a place of repentance because judgment and criticism come easier than empathy. There are a WHOLE lot of things that we as Christians could, and often do, pick apart when it comes to our world, but what are we doing to help? Are we on our knees in prayer? Are we fasting? Are we coming alongside broken and hurting people (who, lets face it, sometimes aren’t the most easy people to walk alongside) and loving them and pointing them to Christ? God cares for people. So, He wants us to be in a posture of repentance and brokenness so that he can actually work through us. I heard it explained beautifully once: when we are repentant and broken before the Lord, there are cracks in our hearts for Him to be able to flow in and change us, and then flow out of and change the world through us. Let’s pray for hearts that break for the very things that break God’s heart and watch as Scripture becomes alive for us in a new and fresh way!
7. Start or Join a Book or Bible Study
We aren’t meant to learn and understand and engage Scripture alone. We were meant to live in community. The beauty of community is that, while it isn’t perfect, it’s a perfect representation of Christ’s church and the different parts of the body coming together to study and edify one another. I receive some of the best revelations and understanding of Scripture when I’m unpacking it with other Christians! In addition, Christ tells us that where two or three are gathered in God’s name, He is in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). Where God is present, there is freedom! I think this is a wonderful way to get connected to the body of Christ while also engaging more deeply with the Word.
8. Listen to Worship Music With Scripture Active In the Lyrics
There is so much worship music out there, created in all different genres and by talented artists, that I believe there is something for everyone to listen to and enjoy. There are some songs, though, that seem to be pulled directly from Scripture and I think those songs hit our spirits in a different way than others. I believe it’s because we are engaging with Scripture in a new way!
Scripture tells us this, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12
I’ve never met a person who doesn’t love music! And, as a worship leader, I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to hear and respond to God’s Word is when it’s to a beat! If you don’t already do this, try incorporating worship music that is straight from Scripture into your daily routine and see how differently you begin to relate and live in the Word of God.
9. Find Scripture for Your Weaknesses
Part of the reason we engage with Scripture is to be strengthened by it! We all have our respective faults and weaknesses and God knows each of them. Instead of being overtaken by them, our weaknesses can be used to point us in the direction of God’s Word, which tells us this: “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
I would encourage you to strengthen yourself by using God’s Word in moments of weakness. If you aren’t sure exactly where you are weak, ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you need His grace in your life and he will be faithful to do so! Engaging in the Word is more than verse memorization. It’s about life transformation!
10. Allow Humility to be Your Compass
One of the best ways to engage Scripture this year is to approach it with childlike faith. With humility. As we grow older, the more we learn about Scripture, and consequently, about God. But as we mature as Christians, our approach to using and engaging Scripture should become more and more humble! Have you ever read something in God’s Word that you’ve read many times over, but on the hundredth time of reading it, God gives you new revelation about it? It takes humility for us to realize our growth as Christians is a lifelong process. Allow humility to be your compass when you study God’s Word this year. It will allow you to engage his Word more deeply!