Have you ever wondered how God’s Word can take shape, have an impact, and make a difference in your life? In this message, we look at how God’s Word is the key to spiritual growth and why its effectiveness is up to us.
Bottom Line: How do I encounter God through His word?
Something To Talk About:
Would you like to encounter God through His word rather than just read your Bible? Nothing is more transformative than encountering God. God’s word is meant to lead us into an encounter with Him.
- Ask God for help: We all could use a little help. God wants to help each of us. He wants us to come to Him, seek Him and put our dependence on Him. Asking God shows dependence on God. He is always available and is always ready to hear our concerns. And the best part, He loves each of us. Many of us are reluctant to ask because we are busy, so we will put it off until tomorrow. The goal is to encounter God every day. Asking God for help is to be in a place to ask questions to help you grow close to Christ.
- Listen to God’s word: The scripture is an extended story of conversation after conversation between God and people. Such a conversation obviously involves listening as well as speaking. Too often, we translate biblical occasions of the word “listen” into the practical equivalent of “reading” the Bible. The scriptures speak of both reading and listening. What human-to-human relationship ever comes to a point where the conversation is no longer needed? Why do we expect that our relationship with God would come to such a point where God stops talking to His people so we don’t need to listen?
- Inquire of God’s word: Take a few seconds and read Proverbs 4. Proverbs 4 talks about the importance and value of wisdom. Wisdom is not always the accumulation of facts but also knowledge tested and proven reliable by experience. This learned wisdom is especially dependable when the source of it is God’s Word, the Bible. This chapter rehearses some of the great benefits of obtaining true wisdom by inquiring about God’s word. When we seek the counsel of God, He gives us inside information and the edge in every situation we may encounter or find ourselves in. However, how much we inquire or whether we inquire at all is our choice to make. But to inquire of Him is the best way to go if we want to grow spiritually.
- Value God’s word to you: Some people view the Bible as just another book. They might say they believe that the Bible is God’s Word, but they do not “esteem” it. Some people esteem the Word highly. They feed upon it, treasure it, and keep it in their hearts allowing it to become a part of their lives. They have learned to place such a high value on the Word of God and on the Spirit of God. It is an invitation to stand in awe before the God of the universe. Until we are able to value God’s Word as it affects the choices available to us. Some people esteem the Word highly. If you value God’s word, before you know it, the word of God is running through your veins, tugging at the edges of your mind, speaking hope and conviction and life-changing love into your heart. If you read the New Testament in its entirety in 2023, you will encounter God.
- Experience God through obedience: One of the many ways to worship and glorify God is through obedience. Living in obedience to God in all things, even the mundane, is a great way to show your love and respect for Him. Obedience is also a suitable way to draw near to Him and grow in your relationship with Him. Obedience to God is not only a way to worship Him, but a way to get closer to Him, prepare for whatever he leads you to, and grow as a person. Obeying God should not be a burden but rather a joy, a way of worshipping Him and growing in your faith. Ultimately, we will feel most satisfied when we are in the right relationship with God – which can only come through obedience.
- What are some of your goals for 2023? Or things you hope to see differently?
- How does remaining/abiding in God’s Word impact those goals?
- What does it mean to read the Bible with expectation? What in your mind is a critical reading of the Bible?
- Do you believe we should start with the big story, Jesus? Why or why not? When we encounter Jesus He can profoundly impact our lives. How is He changing your life now to be more like His?
- God wants to speak to us every day. If we are to use whatever time we have, how much time are you willing to devote daily to accomplish this?
- “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22 (NIV) What does that mean to you?
- Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13 above. When you act on God’s Word, God’s Word acts on you. Allowing the light of the Word to penetrate the darkness in our lives brings light, clarity, and direction to our lives. It also shows us our sins. What steps do you need to take today?
- What does God want you to do in response to this week’s message and today’s discussion?
Take One Thing Home with You:
What does it mean to engage with God’s Word? That’s probably a great place to start. The definition of engage is “to occupy, attract, or involve someone’s interest or attention.” So, when we engage with Scripture, it attracts our attention and occupies our interest. We find ourselves hungry for more understanding and passion for the time spent on its pages. Why does this happen? Because the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself for us and to us — when we spend time growing in knowledge and understanding of the Word, we are spending time growing in knowledge and understanding of God Himself. That’s a pretty powerful reason to do it, right? The more time we spend in the Bible, the more we delight in knowing God through His Word, and the more we will long for more of Him and more time in His Word.