How are you feeding yourself spiritually these days? I’m not talking about going to church one hour, one day a week, and expecting to be fed steak (the reality is that you wouldn’t be able to digest it if all you lived on the rest of the week was milk) but rather what are you doing to help yourself grow in the Lord by eating right (Bible Study) and exercising (prayer, worship, and service). Too often we leave food prep to the professionals on Sunday but the fact is that we need to learn to fend for ourselves as well so that we don’t starve the rest of the week.
What are some of the methods that you use to intentionally spend time with God and nourish your soul?
For me personally the struggle is not getting into The Word or spending time in prayer as much as my motivation for doing so. As someone who is constantly studying Scripture for sermon prep and praying for others as part of my role as a pastor/evangelist it is easy for me to spend all of my time fixing meals for others while forgetting to feed myself. This is where the intentionality comes in and here are a few things I do to help stay on track.
Listening to The Bible – I’m not talking about “hearing the word” so much as literally listening to someone read it out loud. I only started doing this at the beginning of last year as it was promoted by the leader of BFMC’s Men’s Group as we started a year long journey of reading through the Bible together. I find that I not only hear things that may have not stood out in previous readings of the same passage but I also listen while I am driving, walking, even showering, and so even if the urge to write an outline for a future was there the opportunity is not and so I listen for me—I approach it as drinking living water vs using it as a tool to quench someone else’s thirst. This may sound a bit selfish but it is very necessary because you can’t feed others what you yourself are not eating and you cannot lead others toward someone that you yourself are not following.
I am finishing up my second year of going through the Bible in this manner and would offer a few tips if you want to try this yourself.
- Use a Variety of Reading Plans – last year we simply read straight through the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation but this year we are using a Chronological Reading Plan which organizes passages according to actual event timelines.
- Try a variety of Translations/ Versions – sometimes listening to a different version than you typically use can help you see things from a different point of view. Also, some versions like The Message are easier to listen to as they use contemporary language and are written in a more casual, conversational matter.
- Choose a Narrator that you actually like listening to – for me this is very important because years of listening to books on Audible has taught me that it doesn’t matter how good the subject manner is if it is read in a way that is more distracting than pleasing. Now personal preference certainly plays a lot in this but I can tell you that, for me, I often study using the NIV but when it comes to personal listening I much prefer the NLT because the narrator has a much smoother, and less monotone, voice adding just the right inflections. Additionally, other voices have been added in recently to create a more dramatic overall effect.
You can find many audio version online, on Audible, or even going old school with a DVD set but my suggestion would be to try the YouVersion Bible App. It has a permanent spot on my home screen so it is convenient, It has thousands of different versions and translations to choose from, and best if all it’s FREE!!!
It is also very helpful with another method I use to feed myself spiritually which I will write about in tomorrow’s blog. Until then… Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!