Ever felt confused? Ever felt weak? Ever felt too defeated to want to try again? Ever wondered what God was doing? Ever doubted? Ever struggled?
Yeah, me too.
And several recent struggles have led me to this conclusion: I must stay in the Word. Whenever I am out of God’s Word for any length of time, I forget the truths which I know to be true.
John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
If I’m not spending time in God’s Word, I can guarantee that I will get overwhelmed by my own failures, forgetting to recognize that Christ lived a perfect life in my stead. I will believe the lie that He isn’t truly good, wasting time trying to figure out what He is doing instead of learning about who He is.
Recently, I found myself surprised by how easily I could lose my temper, live selfishly, act unloving, think unkindly, etc. I was confessing these sins and apologizing to those I’d wronged, but ten minutes later I’d find myself right back at it! One day, it finally hit me. Why was I surprised to be so quickly defeated when I had not been preparing for the battle? We are instructed in Ephesians 6:17 to “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” One of the Spirit’s roles is to bring to remembrance the words of Christ (John 14:26). If I’m not spending time in the Word, I am not giving the Spirit much room to work with. In other words, I’m not placing the sword in the Spirits hand so that He has ammunition to work with. Instead I am allowing myself to just get knocked down repeatedly without any change in my armor.
Simply reading God’s Word doesn’t always mean that the struggle against our flesh will immediately go away. Battles are rarely won instantaneously and obedience takes effort. Yet, I do know that if I ever want answers to my questions, if I want victory, if I want to live the christian life to the fullest measure with which God intended for me to live it, then I must stay in the Word. By spending time in the Word, I get to know more about God’s heart while He also continues to change my own.
Charles Spurgeon, one of my favorite authors, said “Defeat awaits that man who forsakes the Word of the Lord. We are to take this sword that we may be able to stand and to withstand. If you want to stand, draw the sword and smite your doubts. How fiercely unbelief assails. Never let satan get you away from the solid ground of the Word of God. If he once gets you to think that the fact of Christ being the Savior of sinners can only be proved by what you see within yourself, he will plunge you into despair.”
So, when I don’t know what else to do, when my self-will and determination have waned, when my heart doubts, His Word is my missing defense for the battle. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Listen, I am all too familiar with the fact that spending time with God can be extremely hard to prioritize. Trust me, summer, with its current change of schedules and pace, has added an additional challenge for me in this area. (There have been multiple times recently where I’ve gotten busy with my morning only to realize halfway through that spending time with God hasn’t even been on my radar!) But, this is a non-negotiable. God’s Word remains imperative for victorious christian living.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we read that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
I don’t know about you, but I want to be equipped for the tasks God has called me to, both big and small. And this means that I must be in the Word! However, in order to make this happen during this current season of life –when children are little and summers are busy–we may need to get a little creative.
- Be willing to spend time with God while the kids play at our feet.
- Keep an open Bible on our counter or table. Snatch a quick verse throughout the day as we walk by.
- Listen to a Bible-based podcast while we wash dishes.
- Commit to reading God’s Word before getting on any social media.
- Play the Bible on cd in our car as we drive around to different summer events.
- Store a pack of note cards in our pockets or purse so we can easily work on some scripture memory as we keep an eye on our kids playing in the backyard, etc.
- Find scripture songs to sing with our kids and learn His Word together.
It’s July. We are over halfway through the year; less than six months to go and one more year will be marked down in the history books. How are we going to use the time we have left to dig into God’s Word?