We are starving people. Sure, you may not be able to tell it on the outside; we do not have the skeletal bodies and hollow faces of people who are truly wasting away without food. On the inside however, we are slowly, spiritually, starving ourselves to death.
Matthew 4:4 says, “But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” In John 6:35, Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” You see, it is not enough for us to eat and drink and keep our physical bodies from starving if our souls are slowly wasting away.
As I’m sure many other Christians do as well, there are days when I treat the beautiful and life-giving Word of God as a checklist item. I rush through it and I go about my day as usual, happy I got it ‘done’ while never feeling quite filled. I feel a hunger that does not leave. However, on the days, hours, minutes where I allow the very words of Jesus, the guidance he has given us in the form of a book, to fill me…those days, those days are the ones where I experience fullness that comes from nothing else on this planet.
How can starving people begin to be filled? It has been a battle in my life to learn how to meditate on, memorize, and absorb the Word of God. However, there have been some ways that have helped me, and I want to share those with you.
- Be Creative
Not everybody can memorize and hold onto scripture the same way. I have a hard time simply reading the words on the page and retaining the beauty, fullness, or even exact wording of it. Thus, I do creative things. A couple of things that have helped me is to put on some music and just focus on writing out the verse with doodles that help to emphasize the point (and no, I am not an artist-it doesn’t matter how terrible the doodles are). The other thing that really helps me (as shown in the picture) is writing the verses out on cards, and taping them to the middle of my steering wheel. I literally have scripture right in front of me for every stoplight, traffic jam, whatever.
2. Take Your Time
Scripture is not something God ever intended us to rush through. The days when I rush to finish are the days where I walk away still hungry. Find a chunk of time in your day where you can sit down, decompress, focus, and really take it in. Maybe this means that you don’t read in the morning-there are very few days where I have enough time in the morning to truly absorb what is being said on the pages. That is perfectly okay!
Maybe your routine needs to transition so that you read a short devotional in the morning to set your mind in the right place, but take in the Word in the afternoon or evening. You know you best, and keep in mind that God knows exactly how he made you as well-he knows if you are a morning or night person, what your schedule is like, when you are most focused. He simply wants to spend time with you-not force you to stick to a rigid timeline.
- Purposely Think
In order to truly understand scripture, we need to purposefully think about it. The problematic assumption I made for so long was that if I read it, I would naturally think about it. That, however, is simply not true. Often times it takes me stopping throughout the day and intentionally thinking about what I previously read and making connections with it. It is not something that just comes naturally, so do not feel like you are a terrible person if your thoughts from reading don’t come to mind constantly. The more you stop and think about scripture with purpose, the more natural it will become.
The power of prayer is so underrated in today’s world. Like I wrote above, God knows exactly who you are, what you are like and what you struggle with. He KNOWS how hard some aspects of taking in his word can be. That should be a huge weight off of our shoulders! The Creator of the universe understands that we struggle and does not hold it against us.
That being said, pray for yourself. Pray for your eyes to be opened to the Scripture and for focus. Pray for knowledge, for wisdom, for correct interpretation. Pray for your memory even-it is something I do so frequently because my memory is frankly, terrible. God wants us to commune with him, and he wants to hear all your struggles, ESPECIALLY when it comes to struggling with his word.
We don’t have to starve; God never created us to be starving, empty or unknowing people. He created us to commune with him and others, and he desperately wants us to know him as he knows us. My prayer is that you all can grow in Christ and seek him through his Word and truly be FILLED.