Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Focused Fighting - Bible Reading

In my last post I spoke about fighting distraction and how this is for God's glory. It pierced my heart. Focus is such an important part of the good fight. There is so much that is vying for out attention. So where do we start?

We start with Bible reading. Focused Bible reading will start our minds on the path of spiritual thinking. It can reveal distractions in our hearts and need in the battle for joy. It will give us a place of refuge through out the day. It will keep us focused in the quiet and calm in the chaos.

Focus today on God's word written for your instruction and joy.


  1. Great points. I've learned that it makes a huge difference in how I think and how I feel each day if I read the Word of God. I read this winter that this is exactly how George Mueller got his mind in the right frame of enjoyment of God every morning so he could pray with concentration and focus.

  2. @Anthony Bushnell ,

    Thanks for the encouraging comment.

    Did you read it in Desiring God? That is one of the things that inspired this post. I am "reading" Desiring God on my iPod Nano.

    I have noticed as well the difference in attitude I have when I read the Bible. Yet I feel I am still being short-sighted. I feel better because I have put myself in a place where grace is poured out. Why do I stop there? Why don't I continue to seek those places throughout my day?

    These are areas of exploration in my future blogging.

  3. Good questions. I look forward to more! You hit on the same challenge I'm wrestling with in my daily scramble. I am learning a lot about the Christian concept of meditation. You don't hear as much about it as you do about Bible reading and prayer, and I think people are suspicious of it because it sounds like mysticism or Eastern spiritualism. But I've read enough testimonies from great Christian leaders past and present to see that turning over the Scriptures in your mind throughout the day and concentrating on particular verses of Scripture - what they call mediation on Scripture - is one of the crucial tools to keep us in a godly mindset through the ups and downs of each day's toil. You can't read your Bible all day through, but you can still put your mind on God's Word throughout the day by meditating on what you have read.

  4. Meditation is great! That is for sure. My question was broader though.

    There are many was we can put ourselves in places where God's grace is needed. I find that I am able to read, pray, and meditate but seeking out other ways to experience the grace of God to me and through me.

    What I am saying is, if God's glory is displayed when we are given grace we should be seeking ways to receive more grace. The more grace we receive the more we will be like him. The more we are like him the more of his joy we will feel. And the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

  5. That sounds like a good thing to ponder. Are you thinking about ways to recognize more consciously the grace that you receive in all situations, and to acknowledge it more openly, or are you thinking specifically of ways to receive grace you aren't already receiving (or both)?

    To clarify, what I mean by the first is that we are receiving grace all the time, and one of the chief factors in whether we are living to the glory of God is whether we are acknowledging that grace and our dependence on it, or whether we are acting like we don't need grace and are holding things together on our own. The more we show we depend on God and the more we acknowledge that the power and the glory belong to Him, the more we glorify Him. I know this is important to you already.

    As for the second, regarding ways to receive more grace, I'm interested to hear more on what ways you're considering and applying. I can think of verses that suggest ways to do that, such as "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6). Implied promise: pursue humility, and you'll receive more grace. Prayer is also another vehicle for receiving grace. Is this kind of what you're thinking of, or are you thinking along different lines?

    Glad to explore this together, to the glory of God!

  6. I think doing more of the second will help you with the problem of the first.

    What I am talking about are "small" things like giving up "your" rest time after work to help you wife or kids. This is an opportunity for God to display his grace. This will increase our joy.

    I think if more of us start there more of us will do the "big" things like go to unreached hostile people groups and have God display his grace through your martyrdom. Which would be the greatest gain of joy possible.

    Thanks for the great conversation!

  7. I agree completely. Thanks for sharing your meditations on this, Matt. I think this is a valuable way to grow in grace. The more we surrender ourselves to serve others, the more we become instruments of grace to them, and at the same time we experience the grace of sanctification ourselves and grow in our intimacy with Christ. Everyone involved experiences more grace.

    I also agree that it often leads to the greater service and sacrifice you mentioned. I wonder if one of the reasons that missionaries and pastors often seem so different is that they have already progressed very far in this sort of self-surrender. If you and I give up a little today, and a little more next year, etc. etc., then who knows where that could lead in the future!

    It seems that one of the amazing ways God's grace works is that when I give up some of "my" time or what I want, after a while it usually doesn't feel like a sacrifice. Devoting more time to my kids or my wife this year doesn't usually feel like I've given up so much this year, plus more last year, AND all I gave up the year before. It seems that God's sanctifies our attitudes and our desires so that we get used to what we previously gave up and don't miss it anymore. Instead, we are now content with the new organization of time and priorities. So instead of feeling like I had to give up five times as much when I took a step forward this year, I often only feel like I gave up a step or two.

    And then there are the times when I really resent giving any of my time or surrendering what I want to do. But of those we can speak in response to a post on sin. ;) Right now, I'll just praise God for the grace to grow more like Christ.