If you’ve followed my blog for the last several years, thank you! It’s an honor that you would read my words.
I have to laugh at myself – and I hope you’ll at least smile with me – as I jump into today’s blog. I have a list of ideas that the Lord has given me to write on, but I was just finishing a message that I’m going to be teaching in a few weeks and my heart was reminded that the key to sustained victory in the Christian life is connected to our daily time with God… what we call our priority time.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to teach on Priority Time to this particular group, so I thought, “Well, at least I can point them to my blog series if they’d like some help.” I pulled up my old blogs to find where I’d written on that specific subject and realized that in the midst of last summer, I never addressed one of the most important defining steps of a priority time. So, here it is: Part 5… almost 9 months later! ????????♀️
(If you missed Part 1 of this series or would like a reminder, you can find it here… and parts 2-4 followed in the weeks immediately after that.)
We’ve been looking at the four essential ingredients of a priority time through this blog series. I hope you’re finding it helpful to intentionally think through how you use your time in God’s Word and prayer. If being in His Word hasn’t been a consistent habit, I hope you’ve been encouraged to carve out a time in your day that would become untouchable. Just like you would treat a date with the love of your life, guard it fiercely and make sure it happens. Our time with the Lord is the one most essential decision that we make to guard ourselves from the lies and discouragement this world loves to throw our way. For beginners, consistency is more important than length. Start with a shorter amount of time and then increase.
In my last post in this series, we talked about the first ingredient of a Priority Time: Focused Thinking. If you love studying and learning, you likely love focused thinking. If you preferred Cliff Notes or Spark Notes in school, you’ll be happy to move on to the second ingredient… just be sure not to skip step one. In our pizza analogy, it would be the equivalent of leaving the yeast out of the dough!
As we move to the second key ingredient, Personal Application, we also find ourselves in the territory of one of the most common stumbling blocks that make many Christians feel like they don’t get much out of their time with the Lord. If you’ve been trained to ask good questions and study God’s Word but fail to dive into asking how you should apply God’s truth to your present life, you will be strong on academic information and weak on heart transformation. The Pharisees are a sad Biblical example of the end result. More harsh words are said to those who considered themselves religious scholars in Scripture than to those who denied Christ.
Studying God’s Word without asking yourself the hard, practical questions will also consistently leave you feeling like you haven’t heard from God. We can grow in our knowledge of Scripture, yet still not grow in our Christ-likeness. It may seem ridiculous to think that a Christian would do this, but many people will open their Bible, read a passage, pray, and go on their way without ever turning the mirror to look at themselves.
So, what does it look like to spend time applying God’s Word? I’m glad you asked! Once you have an understanding of the basic truths of a passage, then you begin to write down questions that you must ask yourself and the Lord. As we think of the same journalistic questions, you apply them to you. For example…
• Why does God have me in this passage?
• What do I need to start doing as a result of the truth in this passage?
• What do I need to stop doing?
• How does the timeless truth of this passage apply to me?
I recommend that you literally write out the questions and truly ask the Lord to show you the answers. Sometimes, you’ll sense that He has already begun to reveal how you need to apply His Word to your current reality. Other times, I encourage you to stop and pray and ask Him to show you.
I’ll wrap up this series with Interactive Prayer and Life Journaling, and then we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming! I’m trusting that it’s never a bad time to be reminded of how to apply God’s Word to our lives.