Drink deeply from the Bible
By Thurman Hayes
Here’s one thing you can do that will make 2018 a life-changing year: Drink deeply from the Bible.
First, get on a reading plan. Do your own, or find one online. There are tons of them out there. All you have to do is type “Bible reading plans” and a host of them will come up.
Second, don’t let God’s Word just run through your mind like water through a pipe. Instead, let God’s Word steep in your mind and heart like a tea bag, so that it permeates through your inner life and flows out of you like “rivers of living water” (John 7:38).
In order for that to happen, you are going to have to not only read the Bible, but also meditate on what you read. Here’s what I mean: When you come to a verse or block of verses that is especially meaningful, memorize them and then think about them during the day. Repeat them to yourself, and use them to preach the truth to yourself.
Since I’m preaching through the book of Romans in 2018, I’ve been reading through Romans again and again and again. (By the way, reading through a book of the Bible over and over is a great way to drink deeply from God’s Word.) As I’ve read, here are some verses I have memorized and am now meditating on.
Romans 4:20-21 — Speaking of Abraham, Paul says, “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” These two verses define what it means to trust God. It is about trusting that he has the power to do what he promises. They also bring out the fact that faith honors God. Abraham gave glory to God by being fully persuaded that he had power to do what he had promised.
Romans 6:13 — “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” Every day we are constantly making choices about where our minds, eyes, mouths, hands and feet are going to go. We are to offer every part of ourselves to God and honor him by the way we use every part of our bodies.
Romans 15:13 — “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Joy and peace and hope come from trusting constantly in God, rather than allowing worry to drain you of joy and peace. The Holy Spirit is unleashed when we walk in faith, and God is honored when we trust him, moment by moment.
Romans 8:32 — “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” God has already given us the best — his Son. If he loves you that much, don’t you think he will care for the rest of your needs in 2018?
Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.