Meditation, Devotions, and How in the World Do You Read the Bible?

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What if you could have daily access to a source of worth that you didn’t have to strive or work for? To unshakable confidence? To joy day-in and day-out? To wisdom in every situation? To peace no matter what adversity is before you? To unconditional love that in turn helps you to love and forgive others unconditionally as well?

Currently, there’s a lot of talk on “meditation” going around the health and wellness community. Similarly, a lot of Christians talk about doing “devotions,” but what does that mean? What does doing devotions or meditating look like from a Christian perspective? How in the world do you read the Bible and actually apply it to your life?

The most common way God speaks is through His Word, the Bible. All day long we are assaulted by messages from culture telling us there’s only so much value to go around. So if you want value, you must fight for it by reaching a standard of beauty, popularity, and/or attention. Falling into the lies that beauty, status, and others’ approval give us “value” may make us feel good for a moment, but it never lasts or satisfies. They only lead us into a lonely, exhausting cycle of constant striving and never quite feeling good enough.

In order to combat these harmful messages, we need to guard our hearts. When we know the truth, we’re able to better recognize these messages for what they are, lies. Ephesians 6 uses powerful imagery to depict how daily we need to “put on the full armor of God, so that we stand against the devil’s schemes” (verse 11). Interestingly, all the pieces of armor mentioned happen to be protective or defensive by nature, except one. Verse 17 refers to the sword of the spirit (what we fight with) as the Word of God, AKA the Bible!

By knowing the Word, we are able to fight back against the lies that our worth is in anything other than what God says about us, to fight back against the lies that try to steal our peace, joy, confidence, and ability to love as well as forgive. It’s no coincidence that when we don’t invest time into knowing the Word, we struggle to have peace, joy, confidence, etc.

Struggling with identity is not what God intended for us. Too often we do not live out the Biblical truths we claim to believe. The Bible clearly tells us who God is and who we are, but if we fail to put it into practice, we forget.

James 1:23-24 NIV reads, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in the mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

The more we embrace Scripture, the less we will be consumed by our own appearance as well as what others think about us.

So, how does one go about reading the Bible and living it out? Years ago, I learned a powerful tool for studying the Bible. It’s a reading method called “SOAP,” which stands for: scripture, observation, application, and prayer.

First, pick a Bible chapter. If you don’t know where to start, I recommend James, Romans, or one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Grab a pen and journal, and write an “S” at the top of the page, followed by the your passage (see example below). On the following line, write an “O,” along with any observations or things that stuck out to you. Next, write an “A,” with any thoughts on how you can apply these observations to your life. Lastly, write a “P,” followed by a prayer. This can be prayer asking God to help you apply this verse to your life, for wisdom regarding what this passage means, or simply praising God, talking to Him like a friend, and telling Him your concerns. I also encourage you to take time to quietly listen to whatever God may be speaking to you.

Abbreviated example:
S – Acts 1
O – “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority” (verse 7).
A – I don’t know the timing of the things God has promised and planned for me. That isn’t for me to know, but God does, and He is a good God who loves me. Even when I can’t see the full picture or end result, even when things don’t make sense, I can continue to press on and trust Him knowing His plans for me are good.
P – God, help me to persevere joyfully, and continue to trust I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

Typically, I spend about 45 minutes daily reading a devotional book (My Utmost for His Highest is my favorite), a chapter from the Bible, and journaling using the “SOAP” method. Although, you could do this in as little or as much time as you see fit. Even on the busiest of days, this is time that is never wasted. There is such an incredible, positive difference in the days I start out by meditating on God’s powerful Word.

Just think, how differently would we live our lives if we truly believed what God and His Word say about us? How differently would we live our lives if we lived as if God’s opinion was the only one that mattered? ❤

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