Monday, April 11, 2011

Duct tape, multivitamins and eating with your mouth open

I've shared before that I am doing my best to stick to a reading plan to read my bible through from beginning to end this year. So far so good, I have stuck to it and yet to (by the grace of God) fall behind.

I think I also shared that I really like the plan I'm using. My mom bought me the "Unlocking the Bible" series. It doesn't feel cumbersome to me, and I like the way it breaks things up. It literally includes just a verse or two from Proverbs each day, a Psalm or part of a Psalm each day, never more than a chapter of the New Testament (I read all those in the morning) and somewhere between one and three chapters of the Old Testament that I read at night. I really enjoy it, I read the Bible first thing in the morning before I even step out of bed, and it's one of the last things I do when I settle down for the night.

I've already made it through the challenging books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy! Those are the places in the past where I have found myself easily stumbled by the very detailed dissertation on the law. But the way it was broken up in this reading plan, I really found myself enjoying it. I tend to be looking at the clock at night anticipating when it's time to go in and read the Word.

I have always been one to remind others of their need to be in the Word, I'm happy to finally be taking my own advice. I really do love the Word, and spending this time consistently in it helps me remember that. This morning I was reminding my kids, and encouraging my younger two that they (at 9 and 10) need to start developing the habit of reading their bibles daily. The Word of God is living and active and has the power to change us and transform our lives.

One thing I am doing this year that I have never done consistently before is not just reading the Word, but reading the Word out loud. There is power in God's Word, and God's spoken Word is powerful too. When God created the heavens and the earth, He spoke them into existence. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He called them forth by His voice. He healed the sick, rebuked the demons, opened the eyes of the blind, even push backed Satan Himself with the spoken Word. Why wouldn't I want to exercise the power of God's word in the same manner.

The Bible also says, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17) and I believe that is true. And when you read it and hear it out loud at the same time, I believe it's like securing it down even further into your heart and mind. Consider it a form of spiritual duct tape, if you will. It's like bathing yourself in the Word, inside and out, and I believe it can make a powerful impact.

Speaking the Word of God builds up your faith and your spiritual fortitude. It is wise to pray it out loud and to praise it out loud. Even in just a practical sense, it strengthens the learning process, it applies both the visual (reading) and auditory (hearing) learning styles, and I believe it goes deeper into our minds and hearts.

Now I wish I could say that every time I open my bible I had some palpable, supernatural, hyper-spiritual experience, but the truth is, I don't. It's not as though I never do, but it is not the norm. But I know (and believe) the truth of the power of God's Word and the importance of taking it in. The effects are not always immediately felt and seen, but I consider it a spiritual multivitamin. Just as your body benefits from taking a vitamin everyday, your spirit is strengthened by taking in the Word daily.

So I encourage you, be building up your spirit. You wouldn't eat 2 meals a week, once on Sunday and Wednesday night, and likewise you shouldn't feed your spirit only on such rare occasions. An emaciated spirit is a bad idea. You also would never allow someone else to feed you as you grow. And likewise, we shouldn't just go in places where pastors and teachers are spoon feeding us, we have the buffet of goodness at our demand, and we ought to indulge continually. Unlike a thick waistline, a fat spirit is good for us all.

So, go, dig in, and eat with your mouth open!