Our world is full of temptations and distractions that want to pull us away from God. If we saturate our hearts with Scripture, we are ready to stay the course.
From the beginning of creation, humanity has struggled with temptation and sin. In the very first days, Adam and Eve were given one simple command not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge. Yet when the serpent whispered temptation, Adam and Eve fell into the snare. This is the Bible’s depiction of original sin.
As we look deeper into this first human sin, it is easy to focus on the moment the forbidden fruit was tasted.
But what happens if we take a step back and look at what happened before that first bite?
We recognize that sin didn’t live in that piece of fruit. Sin actually began in the form of a choice that came from the human heart. Sin began when Adam and Eve made a decision to listen to the serpent, allowing their hearts to follow someone or something other than God.
Sin begins before the act that we often attach it to—it is a heart problem. In order to turn away from sin, then, a change of the heart must happen before we ever get to the point of a decision or an action. The Bible is meant to be our tool for fighting life’s battles and speaks often of the heart: “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads” (Deut. 11:18).
The Bible teaches us that we should guard our hearts with Scripture. Armed with the power of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are ready to fight temptation. God delights when we use His Word to fight temptation. We are to have the Word of God living in our hearts. Our hearts should be completely saturated in His presence.
One way to saturate your heart in God’s Word is to make reading the Bible a priority. Many of us have so many demands for our time, and multitasking has become second nature. Bible reading can easily become just another thing to keep delaying or to hurry through, but there is a special blessing in carving out time to read Scripture. Find what works for you. There are people who read before their feet hit the floor in the morning and those that read the Bible in bed at the end of the night. Find what fits your schedule, and be prepared to change if it’s not working.
Once reading the Bible has become part of your routine, explore different ways to study it.
Read it for overarching content and not just as a collection of verses. It is important to get a picture of the context: What is the bigger story here? Who was this directed toward? How might the original reader have understood this passage? Questions like these can help bring the whole picture of Scripture into clearer focus and reveal to us God’s true nature and His deep love for humanity.
It’s important to note that Scripture is not something we simply read and study alone. The Bible can be difficult to understand. We need (and were created for) fellowship with other Christians. While it is vital that we read the Bible individually and hide it in our hearts, we also need to be talking about the Bible with other believers. Often we are able to more easily discern what the Bible is saying when we come together as a group. Christian fellowship helps us to discern biblical truths, holds us accountable to reading the Bible, and also provides a way for us to help each other combat temptation. Scripture reminds us: “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them” (Matt. 18:20).
God has provided us with the means to live the Christian life consistently: the Scriptures guided by the Spirit through the Church. We grow by spending time in Scripture and by taking seriously God’s call to connect with His Church in order to be what God has created us to be.
Rachel Mormino is children’s pastor at Independence Trinity Church of the Nazarene in Independence, Missouri, USA.
Holiness Today, Sept/Oct 2018