Get Arrested!

Not exactly on the top of your to-do list for the day is it?  I didn’t think so.  Getting arrested is not on my list of life’s exciting adventures either!

But there’s another kind of arrest.  It’s the good kind.  The kind in which we are engrossed, engaged, and enthralled with something.  It’s arrested us and our mind.

We’re stopped cold, captivated, drawn in, allured by, and preoccupied with something.

What if we were able to be arrested with the Word of God — the Bible?  Would that not totally change the way we look at Bible reading, meditation, and study?

To read the Bible again with engaged excitement!  Now that’s something that I want to arrest me and my attentions!  Every day!

Here’s a six-step custom that has helped the Word of God to engage with me and me to engage with the Word of God.  I hope it helps you too!

First, Pray!

Jesus promised that the Spirit of God would guide us into all truth (John 16:13).  Ask the Spirit to keep Jesus promise.  Ask expectantly, knowing that the Spirit longs to keep the word of the Son!

Then ask the Spirit to strike you with one word, one concept, one thought, one idea, or one theme.  Let it rise within you from the text.  That word might be in the pages.  It might not.  Just trust the Spirit to do His work as Jesus promised.  Then read.

Second, Read The Sacred!

Read as though you are reading sacred words from God to you.  Don’t read as though you were reading a novel. Novels are for entertainment.  Don’t read as one who is a student studying.  There’s time for study later and the Bible is not a textbook.

When you read the Bible as sacred words from God to you, you’re more alert and engaged.  The Bible actually begins reading to you and the Spirit opens your heart and mind in ways you never thought possible through your faith.

You see there’s a trinity at work here.  You, as a child of God, ask the Spirit of God to engage you with the Word of God; hence a trinity working for a renewal of mind that God uses to transform us (Romans 12:2).

Third, Step Into It!

Stand alongside John, Mary Magdalene, and Mary Jesus’ mother at the foot of the cross as you read the story.  Employ your imagination to see the soldiers gambling for Christ’s robe, hear the sobbing of the women, see the dust on your own feet, hear His words as He speaks from the cross.  Watch the blood drop, or pour, onto the dust beneath his feet and hands.

As you read the story of the first communion in John’s gospel, place yourself at the table with the disciples.  From your standpoint, what look is on Judas’ face when Jesus confronts him.  What is Jesus expression?  Notice Peter’s refusal to have his feet washed and Christ’s response from a participant rather than as a spectator.

Fourth, Feel!

What do you feel as you see David walking toward Goliath?  What emotion do you experience when you read Peter’s praise of our salvation in First Peter 1, or Paul’s same opening words in Ephesians 1?

How you feel and what you feel as you read is an important part of experiencing the Word of God.  Let the Spirit of God speak not only through your rational reading of a story or letter but let Him employ your emotions, how you relate to what you read, to challenge you in ways you never realized previously.

Fifth, Meditate!

Take a few minutes, 2-5 initially, to simply repeat in your mind the one word, theme, concept, idea, or thought that the Spirit of God allowes to rest upon your heart and mind during your reading of the Word.

Simply repeat the word over and over again to God.  This is not “vain repetition” mentioned in the New Testament.  Instead, it is a constant focus on that theme or word to which the Spirit opened your heart and mind.

If your mind wonders, and it certainly will, don’t beat yourself up.  Simply return to your one word or concept, repeating it back to God.

Finally, Appreciate!

Take time to thank God for what His Spirit gave you during your time in His Word.  Praise Him for the one thought, theme, or word!  Thank Him for the emotions you experienced, even if they are painful ones!  Honor the Spirit by thanking Him for doing what Jesus said He would do.

In my own devotional reading, I’ve found this custom to really work to make my Bible reading exciting and engaging for me.  It opens me to the Word and gives the Spirit and the Word an opening into me, to read me as I read the Bible!

Try it and let me know if this has been of help!

Peace & Blessings,

Pastor Mark