One of the key catalysts to spiritual growth is our engagement with God’s Word. The obedience that flows out of this can bring significant life change in us and other people.
Engage with Scripture
David wrote Psalm 119 and in it he tries to explain how God spoke to him through the Word.
Interestingly, David only had perhaps seven books of what we call the Bible when he was alive; he had Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy – which was known as the “Torah” or “Law” – and maybe Joshua and Judges. But all through the psalms that he wrote, and especially through Psalm 119, he talks about these books over and over again. And he repeatedly highlights God’s law and His statutes, commands and promises.
Genesis and much of Exodus consists mostly of stories, although many of us actually find Deuteronomy, Numbers and definitely Leviticus pretty hard going.
But here’s what is amazing – David talks about God’s law not in terms of “dos and don’ts.” He talks about the Law with such passion and in such relational terms. He says: I love the Law. I meditate on it day and night. It’s my comfort. It revives me. It fills me with hope. You see, there was something about the Law from David’s perspective that was extremely relational.
And it serves as a great example to us that God wants to develop intimacy and relationship with us through His Word. Specifically, God wants to speak to you and me – if we’ll give Him time and if we’ll listen. And the tool He wants to use most often isn’t a neon sign or an audible voice.
What God wants to use is His Word.
Read Psalm 119.97-105 out loud together. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Then take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important or significant, or really meaningful to you. Share your thoughts together.
Read Psalm 19.1-14 out loud together. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Then take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important or significant, or really meaningful to you. Share your thoughts together.
What are your regular reading habits?
What has been one of the most profound insights you have discovered while reading the Bible? How has it transformed your life?
What kinds of Bible reading plans have worked for you in the past? What impediments have gotten you off track?
Engage with Scripture
Read Matt 4.1-11 out loud together. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Then take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important or significant, or really meaningful to you. Share your thoughts together.
What is SOAP?
S for Scripture
Open up your Bible to the reference found under today’s date of your “Who Am I?” Journal. Take a few minutes to read the passage and allow God to speak to you. When you are finished, look for a specific verse that especially spoke to you that day. Write it down in the space provided in your journal.
O for Observation
At this point, pause and ask the Holy Spirit to help teach you and reveal something about Jesus to you. You might ask yourself some questions like: “What do I think God is saying to me here?” Write down any insights or ideas that come to mind. One helpful approach is to paraphrase the passage by writing it down in your own words in your journal.
A for Application
Now try to apply what you have read to your own life and situation. Ask yourself: “How does this verse/passage apply to my life right now?” Perhaps it is an instruction, a command, an encouragement, a promise, or even a correction for a particular area of your life. Write down how this verse/passage can apply to you today.
P for Prayer
This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this passage to face life today. It might be to ask the Lord to give you greater insight on what He might be revealing to you. Ask for help or encouragement or strength or wisdom. The sky is the limit! Remember, prayer is a two way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! The last step is to write it out.
Growth and development happen in our lives when we act on what we’re learning or what the Lord is saying to us. It’s when we take the next steps that God is challenging us with that we experience real change.
So, based on what you’ve been discussing, we’re going to take time to make an action plan. There are a few options here to help you take the next step. So take some time to talk it through together and work out a meaningful way to take what you’re learning further.
- Get a copy of Wayne Cordeiro’s book “The Divine Mentor”. Work your way through it as a group (or in your personal devotions) to develop your understanding and practice of journaling even further. Commit yourself to keeping this rhythm for a month or even a term.
- Choose a book of the Bible and work through it together using SOAP as your plan for personal devotions as well as you regular time together.
- Some people find listening to the Bible on a recording really helpful. Sign up at youversion.com to listen through a book of the Bible in your regular time with God.
- Design a project together that helps you plan 40 days of committed time to regularly read and apply God’s Word to your life.