Many Christians cling to God’s promises that he will never leave us and he will be with us always (Heb. 13:5-6, Matthew 28:20).  But experiencing God’s presence every day is not an automatic benefit for believers.  Knowing God is a two way street.  James 4:8 teaches, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”  If we want God to be near us, we have to spend time with him.

What does that look like practically?

That means waking up a little earlier than normal to read your Bible before work.  That means going to bed on time so you can start the day refreshed.  That means denying yourself of other pleasures to seek God at his throne.  When we study the Word, we are not just reading a history book, or a biography.  We are reading about the God of the universe and how he foreknew us before the world existed.  Our disobedience and failure did not catch him off guard.  Awesome, powerful, and holy, the God of heaven and earth lived among men and paid their punishment with his life, so that we could be restored to fellowship with God. 

When we study the Bible, this is the God we are seeking to know more.

When we read his word, God teaches us and reveals his plans for our lives. 

Life never becomes less busy.  Time flies by like water through our fingers, so we must learn to redeem every moment.  God’s word is powerful and sharp like a two-edge sword (Heb. 4:12).  It pierces the heart and convicts us of truth.  In Leviticus 20:8, we are called to obey and keep God’s commands, because the Lord is the one who sanctifies his people.  Similarly, Jeremiah 7:23 relates, “But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.”  So the crucial thought to remember is that God is the one who sanctifies us, changes us, and walks with us.  He must work in our hearts.  However, he works through our obedience.  As we obey him, he refocuses our perspective and reminds us of his character and his love for us.  God promises, in Proverbs 2, that those who seek for wisdom like silver will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:1-6).  When we seek after him with our whole hearts, he is not far from us.

Practical Tips

  1. Every time you open the Bible, spend a few minutes in prayer first.  Ask God to reorient your heart and open your spiritual eyes to understand with his perspective.  When you’re studying for a test, it’s easy to cram information into your brain and not really focus on what it means for your life.  So, take a moment.  Consider the awesomeness of God.
  2. Ask how can I obey Jesus today?  Don’t be a hearer of the word and not a doer (James 1:22).  Let the power of God’s word motivate you to action.  When we obey God, we experience his blessing and his presence directly in our lives.  The point of knowledge is to apply it and obey.  So yes, when you study a new passage, look for observations, and cross references, and Greek words.  But also look for ways to apply it to your life.  For instance, pay special attention to sins to avoid, promises to claim, examples to follow, and commands to obey.

I have found that when I intentionally look for application, not just knowledge, God teaches me so much more than I could have learned on my own, and he refreshes my soul with his goodness and mercy.

Written by NBB Alumna: Tabby Boulware