Here I am, in my most frequently used study space. You can find me here at least once daily(on most days), white noise playing, journal, and a cup of whatever seems fitting at the moment. I wish, so desperately, that I could tell you I wake up every single day excited to take up this space, but I can’t. Nevertheless, in my current pattern of life I haven given myself no choice but to be here.
It has not always been this way. I have honestly gone through several seasons in life when the majority of my days were spent with absolutely no desire to get into the word. So, I didn’t. But in order to clear my conscience during those seasons I would always take a quick look at the YouVersion App’s verse of the day. Read it, so that I could tell myself “alright you’ve read something.”, and then go to sleep. That is not enough though. God requires more of me according to the word.
2 Timothy 2:15
15 Study [Work] to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Believe it or not, this was a habit that started for me when I was about seven years old. Every night before I went to bed I would open up my bible and read at least one verse so that I could feel good about myself. I didn’t meditate on those scriptures often or maybe even at all. I just read them with completion in mind, said a prayer, and went to sleep. If I had actually studied and meditated on those scriptures, even though it was just one verse most times, this would be an entirely different blog post. That’s not my truth though.
As years passed, I found myself in a constant back and forth. Alternating between seasons of consistent personal study sessions and those of absolutely none, characterized by a quick read of a verse. These spiritual ebbs and flows always left me feeling incomplete, distorted, and like a disappointment to God. I was so tired of those feelings that I finally began to pray about the matter. Before I knew it a sense of urgency came over me. It was like I had to study and understand God’s word now or never. Those alternating seasons slowly diminished. Praise God! I may have a day or two of not having thorough study sessions but entire seasons of that have become obsolete. The urgency alone did not transform my habits though. I had a realization that worked with that urgency.
I realized that I had always read/studied the word simply out of obligation. In other words, I am a Christian and this is what I am supposed to do. I read the word with the mindset of completing the task for the day. I’ve come to understand that: Yes, I must be obligated to the word as a result of being obligated to God and accepting his word as truth. However, that alone will not lead to consistency in any form of worship. At least not for me. Maintaining a regular study schedule for me has come through a love for the Word. My love for God’s word has grown through the understanding of my why. As in: Why do I study the Word? Why does it matter to me that I am exercised in this form of worship daily? and Why does it matter to God that I study? It has been through questions like these combined with obligation, that I have been able to complete personal bible studies consistently. Even on days when the desire is absent.
Here are five of my whys in no particular order:
- To communicate with God
Believing in God means that I must take time to listen to him. God has spoken and what he has to say is in the bible. I know him and understand him by studying the word that he established so long ago through his son Jesus Christ. I demonstrate my faith in God by living out what he has communicated to me through his word.
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
2. To have consistent peace of mind
Consistent studying gives me peace. In moments when I become confused, doubtful, or worried I simply reflect on God’s word and all becomes well. It’s like I have an internal reserve of God’s affirmations that restore my faith when those opposing ideas try to penetrate my spirit.
33 I have told you these things so that you may have peace. I give you peace. The world will trouble you much. But be glad. I have power over the world.
3. For Growth
Growth must be consistent as a Christian. One of the most important aspects of growth is understanding our wrongs and correcting them, repentance.
2 Timothy 3:16
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
4. For understanding and wisdom
Gods word gives knowledge that leads to understanding and wisdom. It is through understanding and wisdom that my faith remains. I cant imagine being able to hold onto my faith without understanding God’s word, especially during these times.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them
Ephesians 1: 17-19
17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
I’ve spent years in bondage as a result of religion and my assumptions of God. Once I began to study intentionally and seriously, slowly all of the chains I created began to break. Freeing me in a way that is currently impossible for me to express. Just know it feels amazing! Knowing who God truly is means that you know his word. Knowing his word, knowing Christ, is the source of freedom. This all begins with taking time to hear and study his teachings.
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Do you know your why’s? If so feel free to leave one in the comments below.