As I began to ponder and pray over the direction the Lord wanted me to take this year in writing for 31 days, I found myself moving closer and closer to an understanding of truly seeking and desiring to be with God. During my reading and prayer time I felt God whispering to me to just be still and listen. This has always been difficult for me to do and when talking to others, I haven’t found too many that have it mastered. I have participated in multiple bible studies in the course of my lifetime and have gleaned and learned so much about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Christian walk, church theology, and much more. But as I look back, the times I have sat and sought after just being with my Lord have truly been the most satisfying times in my walk.
Earl Lavender in his book, Mark: Jesus is God’s Son, states clearly the difference between reading the bible for knowledge sake verses reading for a relationship with our Creator.
“We must know what the Bible says to know our standing with God. We therefore read the Bible to discover true doctrine or teaching. But some—in their emphasis on the authority and inspiration of the Bible have forgotten that Bible study is not an end in itself. We want to know God through Scripture. We want to have a relationship with the Teacher, not just the teachings.
“Jesus, speaking to the Pharisees states: You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life” John 5:39-40. Jesus is not telling them to study their Bibles less, but He is reminding them of the deeper purpose of Bible study—to draw us to God through Jesus (10).”
Thus, our time with the Lord should be more than just seeking to have a Sunday school lesson to teach, a word to share with our children, or a message to preach. Our time in God’s Word should have a transforming affect on our lives. Lavender continues:
“But we read the Bible for more than information. By studying it, we experience transformation, the mysterious process of God at work in us. Through His loving words, God is calling us to life with Him. He is forming us into the image of His Son…Reading the Bible is not like reading other books. We are not simply trying to learn information or master material. Instead, we want to stand under the authority of Scripture and let God master us. While we read the Bible, it reads us, opening the depths of our being to the overpowering love of God (11).”
Stillness does not come naturally to us, nor does Satan encourage us to draw more intimate with God, which makes our alone time with God highly fought over territory. It takes discipline, consistency, and effort to be still, listen, and meditate on God’s Word. Consider this definition of meditation:
“Meditation is taking the words of Scripture to heart and letting them ask questions of us. It is slowly chewing over a text, listening closely, and reading God’s message of love to us over and over. This is not a simple, easy, or naïve reading of Scripture, but a process that takes time, dedication, and practice on our part (Lavender, 11).”
Sanctification and being conformed more into the likeness of Christ is a process, but one I am willing to continue to pursue. Will you join me?
Take a moment to read these 20 verses. As you read, consider these questions as presented in the book, Mark: Jesus is God’s Son.
“Our challenge as we read and mediate on this text, is to ask where we are in Mark’s account of the life of Jesus. Will we accept him as the Son of God? Will we accept what he says is true about our lives? Will we be authentic disciples? Will we tell others of what we have seen and heard? Will we become a part of what Jesus is doing in our world? (Lavender, 19).”
The opening verses to the book of Mark beckon us to come to Jesus and follow Him. Can we “move beyond the comfortable life of religious behavior into the uncertainty of radical discipleship” as God is calling us to life with Him (Lavender, 19)? Are we really ready to meet with God in the still moments of our day this month? The same way we came to Jesus when He first called us into relationship with Him, is the same way we must prepare ourselves to meet with Him in the still moments of our day. The Lectio Divina Bible Study Series, Listening for God Through Mark, communicates this preparation of our hearts:
“Repentance, trust, and compassion are key elements in our preparation for meeting Jesus. When we follow Christ, neither the things we do nor their outcome is under our control. We place ourselves in His hands. So getting ready to meet Jesus is a matter not of preparing to achieve but of preparing to be faithful to His call (10).”
Lord, prepare us to be faithful to your call. Empty us of ourselves and give us more of You. May we seek after a relationship with You, the Teacher, and not just your teachings. Let Your voice be heard among the still moments we spend with You this month.