Sunday, November 20, 2011

The High Price of Integration: Knowing God's Word

Knowing God’s Word does take discipline, just like learning about any other topic or area of interest, we must discipline ourselves to spend the necessary time in God’s Word to even know
how God thinks and what He desires.

One of the most simple commands from God, yet most demanding, is for us to study His Word. Even a child can study and read God’s word. It doesn’t take a special high level of intelligence to be able to read, study, and memorize God’s Word.  But it is almost as if we are like Naaman; we don’t really think taking the time to know God, His desires, His wishes, His ways, and His thoughts should be the priority of our lives.

Most Christian counselors are aware of the various ways they can know God through His word.  We can hear the Word....there is an undeniable power in hearing God’s Word (Romans ...and how shall they know without hearing?) We can read His word. With just a mere 3 chapters a day, a person can read through God’s word annually. We can study God’s word. You would think this would be the most common activity for those who are called into God’s work, but there is only a small number who actually study God’s word on a regular basis. We can memorize God’s word, and meditate on it. Memorizing and meditating are the most challenging, and it seems few are willing to spend the time necessary to do this.

All these activities are spoken of in the Scriptures, recommended and commanded for us to obey. But few ever obey these simple commands. It is almost as if we don’t believe what God has told us to do is really important. If we really believed it, we would do it!

We complain about our “weakness” in dealing with temptation, but we forget the simple instruction of “thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee” (Psalms 119: 11). Or when we have difficultly trusting God in the midst of difficult circumstances, we refuse to believe that our faith is strengthened by focusing on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2-3).

Why do we not make knowing God a priority? Why are we not willing to discipline ourselves to read, study, memorize and meditate on God’s Word?  There could be any number of reasons listed, but perhaps at the heart of all of them would be the idea that we just don’t see it as a priority in our lives, even though God has commanded it. It takes time daily to read, study, memorize and meditate on God’s Word, and we are much more interested in using our time to accomplish our own priorities, whether it is time for ourselves to accomplish our desires, or time to accomplish tasks that are directly related to the fear of man (pleasing or impressing others).
Not only are priorities an issue, but even the mental discipline it takes to focus on God’s word to memorize or meditate on it is a major issue for most of us. Our minds are prone to wander, and it requires a great deal of energy to focus our thoughts on God’s thoughts and God’s ways.

As in all disciplines, usually we don’t follow through on them unless we have a plan to be consistent. When I don’t have a plan to be regular in my reading, study, memorizing and meditating on God’s Word, I rarely do it. My challenge to you, as a Christian (counselor) is that you pick one of these disciplines and develop a plan to do it regularly. Write it down and set a reminder alarm on your phone, or include it in your calendar agenda.

Next week we will think about how knowing God interfaces with our ability to apply and practice God’s Word in our daily life.

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