This article is written by Emily Darnell for the Deeply Rooted Devotional series. To submit a guest blog, click here.
We know that growing deeper in grace and truth means coming to God’s Word with a desire to learn. We say “yes Lord!” when we read: “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.” (John 8:31). Today I want to look at a few passages that will encourage you to continue in His word.
Turn with me to John 5:39-40 for a moment:
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”
This is the very same attitude Adam and Eve displayed in the garden. They were tempted by the idea of obtaining the knowledge of good and evil apart from God. Without much thought, they ate the fruit that would, so they believed, remove their need to depend on Him.
Here in John 5, this same situation is expressed in the search for knowledge leading to eternal life. We too can be swayed to seek knowledge without having to depend on Him. We can try to master techniques, or idolize a particular teacher, or try to keep a daily routine, without realizing we’ve been trying to do all of this apart from Christ.
There is a way to read and study that will lead our hearts and minds astray. There are also ways to come to Him “that we may have life,” to delight in His words, to abide in His words, and become more deeply rooted. Here are just a few ways to ensure you are coming to Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, while you search the Scriptures.
- Remind yourself seasonally that you do not have understanding apart from Him. Come back often to the portions of Scripture that will remind you of all that He does in you while you abide in His words. (1 Cor 2, 2 Cor 4, John 15, Ephesians 4-5, Colossians 2, 1 Timothy 4, 2 Timothy 3, for example.) We have “received the Spirit who is from God, that we may know the things freely given to us by God.” (1 Cor 2:12) A natural man, apart from the indwelling Spirit, cannot know these things. So we do not set about learning on our own, we depend on Him abiding in us.
- Write Psalm 119:18 where you can pray it before your times in the Word. I write it in my journal when I begin a new one; I have it written on a sticky note placed just inside my Bible. Perhaps you could write in on a bookmark?
- Schedule times to feast on the Word. In John 6:56 and 63 Jesus taught that one must “eat” using a word that means continually. This is not a bite, this is a feast. While we will have our daily times to read and pray and reflect, growing deep roots means including weekly times for more in depth study. To help with this, buy a commentary for the book you’ll study, invest in a good concordance, and if you can, join a Bible study offered at your local church.
- Do not separate portions of your spiritual life. Keep prayer and Bible Study together. Pray without ceasing as you read, study, question, journal, etc. Jesus taught His disciples in John 15 to abide in His word, and then ask. Let your prayers be shaped by His words. When I am struggling, I turn to Ephesians 1 and 3, or to a favorite Psalm.
- Have a plan, but be flexible. Different seasons of life will call for different ways of setting aside time, so be willing to scrap your plan and make a new one. If you set out to read the Bible in a year, but take 15 months, you have not failed. The goal should be more about feasting on His word, rather than about beating the clock. Make use of spare moments, perhaps even listen to Scripture while you iron or fold laundry, or drive to work.
- Memorize portions of Scripture, so that you can meditate on them throughout your days. When I take the puppy out in the early morning or late at night, I often run through a passage in my mind, and pray. While at the chiropractors office, laying on the table for ten minutes hooked up to the electric stim machine, I turn my mind toward a passage I’ve hidden in my heart.
- Let your prayers echo Jesus’ desire for you found in John 17:3, “O that I might know YOU more, the One True God!” O that we would all grow deeper in our abiding, deeply rooted in the knowledge of the One who loves you.
Be patient with yourself, knowing this growth does not happen all at once. He is Fountain of Living Water, the source of all your soul craves and needs. Drink deeply, often, and with the mindset that you do not do this on your own. We come to Him that we may have life, that we may learn and grow, and that we may have the mind of Christ.