All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man or woman of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)
For the past nine weeks I have been writing about Scripture – how it is essential sustenance for our mind, soul and spirit – and how through the disciplines of reading, study, use in prayer, memorization and contemplation it can address and heal our infirmities, re-frame our thoughts and give shape and direction to our lives.
I know only too well how easy it is to take Scripture for granted. It is not enough to glance at the Bible from time to time. As Paul writes in his letter to the Colossians, we should let the word of God dwell in us richly (3:16). He means it should take up residence in our heart and mind, become a fixture in our thoughts and imagination, so that God’s word to us in Scripture becomes the lens through which we view our life and the world around us.
The stories, images and words of Scripture should become our first and foremost frame of reference, so that our purpose and direction in life, our worth, and our allegiance are all defined by God’s word and not any other word. Yet, this won’t happen unless we turn to Scripture daily, several times a day, because God’s reality will become increasingly obscure to us, since its so unlike our own, and his unique and truthful voice will be drowned out by the messages and images with which we are constantly barraged. Those messages and images are the default lens through which we view life and unless we work consistently to change that, they will remain so.
Among the things I do to keep the words and images of Scripture in my mind and outlook is to print out favorite verses and hang them up in visually appealing frames around the house where my eye will be drawn to them. Downstairs in my home you’ll find:
- Lamentations 3:21-23 in the guest bathroom
- 1 Corinthians 7:30 “c” -31 in the kitchen
- and on the dining room table, a four-sided picture frame in which I insert a verse-of-the-month (currently it is 1 Peter 4:9-10).
- 1 Chronicles 17:9 is in the hallway
- Jeremiah 17:7-8 is in my son’s bathroom
- Galatians 5:1 is in the master bath
- and Jeremiah 29:11-13 is in the master bedroom.
And at my desk where I write the posts for this blog:
- 1 Chronicles 28:20
- 2 Timothy 1:7
- Isaiah 30:15
I work out of my home so I find it helpful to come across these framed passages throughout the day. I don’t want God’s word of truth to be far from my mind or sight.
Developing the habit of using these five disciplines of Scripture is something I “prescribe” for those who to whom I minister as a spiritual director and pastoral counselor because I know from personal experience Scripture can help bring about a renovation of the heart and mind. Scripture has been used down through the centuries by pastors to address spiritual ailments of the soul and spirit.
In her book and ten part DVD series, Breaking Free, Beth Moore incorporates Scripture in her five step process for addressing and healing past hurts, breaking patterns of sin and claiming the truth of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness. The essential components of this process involve recognizing the lies we believe about ourselves – and God – and finding and dwelling upon the appropriate truth in Scripture. I highly recommend this series.
I end with the following advice from Paul in his letter to the Philippians: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (4:8). Paul understood how harmful dwelling on the depraved, the cynical, and the depressing things of this world are to us. Ingesting Scripture on a regular basis will help to keep your mind on what is truly excellent and praiseworthy.
Next week: helpful words of advice about Scripture from a few well-known (and not-so-well-known) Christians.