Monday, May 7, 2012

7 Ways to Learn Hunger for God's Word {even if you have no appetite}

If studying the Bible feels like a drag,
an “ought to,”
and far from a passion,
this post is for you.

I’ve been there,
I come back there,
I’ll probably go there again.
Our flesh doesn’t believe that a soak in pure Truth can refresh more than mindless television, or inspire more than moving films.

Our flesh is foolish.

Let me guess… you enjoy Christian books, music, sermons, and Bible studies. But the Bible itself?  Eh… not so much. Spiritual warfare is real. We replace God’s Word for entertaining commentaries ABOUT God’s Word. We turn what is meant to supplement into a substitute.

When I was in your shoes, (and I’ll be there again no doubt,) several things helped ignite my passion for the Bible. Maybe some of these ideas will work for you. We need Truth. Don’t give up until your stomach growls for it more than physical food!

SEVEN Ways to Become Hungry for the Word

  1. Admit to God that you have no appetite. Often. I say, “God, I haven’t been in deep Bible study in days, (or weeks/months/years/ever), and worse yet, I don’t care. I am cold to You! Help me! Make me LONG for You and Your Truth!”
  2. Use a Bible reading plan.    It’s paralyzing to stare at a thick Bible, unsure where to begin. Reading plans cure that ailment.  I love the method I blogged about here because it has "failure" built in.  Isn't that the main reason we quit reading plans? Because we miss days and give up?  Try this method instead, which let's you fall down and get back up.  (Whatever you do, use a plan.   You can look for whole-Bible plans, topical plans, etc.  Google it.)
  3. Take notes.  By writing down the insights you gain as  you read scripture, you cement lessons in your mind.  I keep dated notebooks from my quiet times.  They eventually become sentimental reference books used for personal reflection, or for creating Sunday school lessons and talks.
  4. Read even when you don’t want to. Tell God, “Okay, You say You Satisfy. I am opening my Bible now. I am digging into this chapter and trusting that You will soften my heart and make me LOVE what I find. Help me taste and see that the Lord is good!” Don’t read so you can mark it off your to-do list. Read because you trust that through reading, God will whet your appetite for more of Him and Truth. Time and time again, God causes me to love my time in Scripture. Before long, I am praying, “God, PLEASE give me MORE time with you!”
  5. Read Psalms 119. Transcribe it.  It's about loving God’s Word.  I transcribed half of Psalms 119 in a Journible on our way to Uganda. Truth must have traveled up my pen and transfused itself into the veins in my arm; after Uganda, my affection for Scripture exploded. (If you don’t know what a Journible is, get ready to swoon: Click here.)
  6. Listen to the Bible. I try to listen to Scripture on my iPhone as I drive or clean. This is invariably interrupted by my girls' pulling on my leg or a phone call.  I can't fully concentrate on what I hear.  That's okay.  This doesn’t replace reading Scripture to yourself. It serves to keep the Word on your mind.  All of the interruptions will make you hungry for sit-down and dig-deep quiet time.
  7. Never use "too busy" as an excuse.  Sure, you feel too busy.  So do I.  When the "busy" lie takes over, I pray, "God, I think I'm too busy to spend time with you.  The truth is that if I really believed you satisfy, I'd drop everything and run to you.  The truth is that I think I am juggling my life, when You hold it.  The truth is that I think I am too important to rest, when really I am small and You are big and in control. So I can stop.  The truth is that when I do choose to stop, I enjoy a million other interests that are temporal and could never satisfy like you do.  Draw me to You.  Satisfy me above all else! Make it impossible for me to find joy in anything more than You."
Have you ever felt unable to dig deep in God's Word?
What keeps you from enjoying the Bible?
What helps draw you to Scripture?


Katie said...

Did God flash my face in your head when you wrote this? Cause I think He just used you to get a message to me. :-)

kaylietess said...

Thank you for this! I read your blog all the time and so many times it seems like reheat your writing is right where I'm at. This post is no different except now I can look back and remember being hungry for the Word I just can't seem to get there again. Thanks for the tips!

Sharon said...

Thank you for sharing these awesome tips!! They really have helped me through the years! Each one of these tips have been such great ways for me to study the bible. Although, I haven't done a Journilbe yet, I'll have to try that! And that last point "I'm too busy" is something I say all the time, unfortunately. But wow that prayer you wrote was a smack in the face, it's so true! I totally need to pray that next time! Thanks again!

Singing Pilgrim said...

One thing a friend and her church which I visited opened up to me is REALLY thinking if the Bible as spiritual food. That is, if you haven't eaten in a while, you need to eat, even if you're not hungry. You need to at least nibble, and often that will whet your appetite. You should "eat" daily, perhaps several times a day. You don't want to be a spiritual anorexic!

At the same time, one way in which the Bible is superior to food is you can't get spiritually fat. So if you feel like feasting on the Word, have at it!

RACHEL said...

Katie, you are often on my mind, but never because I think you don't read your Bible! Ha ha!

RACHEL said...

I'm so glad it was helpful!

RACHEL said...

I love love love a Journible!!

RACHEL said...

I absolutely love how you put that! Feast but you won't get fat! Eat or you'll starve! So perfect.