How To Ignite Intimate Communication With God—1
Posted On: 03/29/2012
Over on our Guidelines page is the following paragraph:
Intimate Communication Over Everything Else
Get extreme and humble in your praying, and seriously commune with God through his love letter to you, the Bible. Refuse to let “prayer” and “Bible reading” be church words. Take them seriously over everything else. Because without them, there’s no thriving Spirit. And with no thriving Spirit, there’s no way of “getting to the heart” (which is what God says we must do).
Now it’s time to discuss how to ignite intimate communication with God. And we’ll start with reading his love letter, the Bible.
As with most aspects of faith, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer. And that’s a good thing. So what I’d like to do in this post is 1) share two aspects of my reading life with you; and 2) ask for you to share at least one or two of yours. Together, we’ll create an awesome picture of ways to draw closer to Jesus as we read God’s book.
Listen While You Read
I start my day with a bowl of oatmeal, iPod and Bible. I listen to a word-for-word version of Scripture while I read because it really brings words to life. Like, really.
Quick example: Not too long ago I had to read Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Reading those first pages were horrible. The language and structure seemed ridiculous. But when I bought the audio book and listened as I read … every word, every sentence, every 14-line sonnet sprang to life with new meaning. I understood what was going on even when I didn’t know what the characters were saying. Because their tone said it all.
This is key. Think of all those times you’ve wondered, “What is God saying here?” Audio versions of the Bible may not shed more light on the actual words, but they do shed light on the overall meaning. A real person saying real words on the page pluck certain chords you never before heard. So when it comes to truly hearing God through his book, try engaging not just your sight, but your hearing as well. It might just blow your mind.
Note: You can get the entire Bible—about 100 hours worth of listening—for about $7.50 here.
Underline With (Holy Spirit) Purpose
I try to underline sentences and paragraphs of Scripture with purpose. What does that mean exactly? Basically, when something pops from the page, I underline it and ask myself Why.
Why does this stand out?
What is the context of the passage?
How does it apply to my life?
As I’m asking these questions, I’m not trying to figure things out on my own. I’m praying. I’m asking the Holy Spirit to communicate God’s purpose for me that very day, that very moment.
“Lord, why is the Spirit drawing me to this passage?”
“What is it that you want to discuss, Father?”
“Help me see your true meaning, not some meaning I want to fabricate.”
The Holy Spirit inside us is an excellent cross-referencer. When a certain verse or chapter springs from the page, He delivers real-life connections that help show us the Why. Example:
This verse about encouraging totally brings to mind John from work; I should text him . . .
This verse about useless talk is like staring at a mirror; I’m feeling that the Spirit wants more God and less blahty-blah coming out of my mouth . . .
This verse about honoring your father and mother is punching all my buttons; God wants me to curb my attitude toward them, doesn’t He? . . .
This verse about the poor is so vivid; I think God wants me to start talking to those garbage-bag-wearing people I usually avoid.
A lot of people get uneasy about the role of the Holy Spirit in their lives. We’ll get into that more in a later post. But I do want to share one thing about the Spirit now: if you’re concerned about whether one of your Bible-reading-related thoughts or feelings is from God or not, check it against Scripture. If it doesn’t go against God’s Word, what do you have to lose? Sending an encouraging text? Speaking more about God and less about blah? Having a better attitude toward your parents?
It’s so much better being sensitive to the Spirit and acting upon nudges than ignoring nudges and being deaf to our King.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: How do YOU ignite intimate communication with God as you read his Word? What helps you hear his truth? What helps you LIVE his truth? Be heard, my dear friends. Help one another. What helps you just might help 100 others who are dying to read God’s word with just a touch of intimacy. It’s okay if reading the Bible is boring to you. It’s okay if you have trouble reading the old or new testament or what have you. We NEED you in this conversation, no matter where you’re at. Cool? I love you all, brothers and sisters!
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