Have you ever been spiritually thirsty? Have you ever yearned for a long tall glass of living water but you were unable to find it? Have you ever felt like you were in the middle of a spiritual desert? For many of us, the answer is YES! We love our church and we love the Lord. However, spiritually, we are empty on the inside and we do not know what to do.
The solution to our thirst issues can be found in the Word of God. In John 4:4, Jesus says "whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." This thirst quenching water can be found throughout the Word of God.
It is through the bible and prayer that we become intimately acquainted with the Lover of our soul. We learn about his character and attributes. We learn about his grace and mercy. We learn of his undying love for us. And we learn of his will for our lives.
So how do I unveil these truths for myself? How can I hear God speaking to me through the Word of God? It all starts with PRAYER. Prayer is our personal communication channel with the Lord. It is the means by which our almighty, all knowing and forever present God bestows His wisdom upon us. (James) Therefore, as we seek to quench our thirst, we can ask Him to unveil himself as well as his purpose for our life. We can ask him to help us understand His Word and then apply this revelation to our lives. Once we have prayed, it is time to dive into the Word.
Step 1 - We encourage you to start by OBSERVING. Ask yourself
- Who are the main characters in the passage?
- When are the events of this passage taking place?
- Where are the events of this passage taking place?
- What is going on in history at this time?
The answers to these question will allow you develop a contextual understanding of the passage as well as a baseline understanding of the people, places and things of the bible.
Step 2 – After observation, it is time to INTERPRET the passage of scripture that we just read. This time we ask ourselves
- What was the original author trying to say to the original audience?
- Why did the events in the passage take place?
- We can also compare the current passage with similar passages of scripture in the bible. This will help us develop a deeper understanding of what the bible as a whole says about the particular topic.
Step 3 – Application. In step 3, we want to see how this lesson applies to our life and then apply it. This step is critical to our spiritual growth. Not only do we want to have a firm understanding of the Word, we want to live it also. In James, the bible says be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only deceiving yourselves.
The above steps will provide us with a foundation for studying the Word. However, they are ineffective without consistency. This is where many of us could use some improvement. We want to grow spiritually via the study of the word but we are lacking CONSISTENCY. We read three chapters of the Gospel of John this week and then we do not pick up our bibles for another 3 weeks. We say that we are going to start our day with a morning devotion but after two weeks we are back to hitting the snooze button on our alarm clocks. We say that we are going to study our Word on Tuesday and Thursday nights but then we schedule other meaningful but time consuming activities on our study nights. The successful quenching of our spiritual thirst requires consistency. We must be committed and DISCIPLINED enough to carve out time in our schedule for the study of his Word.
While there are so many activities that clamor for our attention, there comes a point when you have to step back and ask yourself, what is most important? If spiritual growth is vitally important to us, than we must schedule time for it. We schedule time for everything else. Why not schedule time for Him? Let's be willing to tell ourselves no to the activities that consume our bible study time while telling ourselves yes to the quenching our spiritual thirst.