“Pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20b-22 (NIV)
Do you ever get overwhelmed when you sit down to read your Bible? There are so many books, deep thoughts, spiritual insights and life-altering truths — where do we begin for today?
My sticky farm table and I have a long history of early mornings together. I gather up my Bible and my computer. I push past the sleepy feelings begging me to go back to my bed. And I look at the well-worn book as my love letter from God.
Truly, His words are a lifeline to me. A whisper from my God. A personal note. A treasure.
Of course, I don’t always find myself in a season where I can consume chapters at a time. Some days, quite honestly, it’s just one or two verses that I tuck into my heart, so I can live out our key verses: “Pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body” (Proverbs 4:20b-22).
This is what I want to do. I want to really pay attention. I need to listen well to what God is saying. I look for one verse I can savor word by word, letting it sink in deeply — interrupting me, rearranging me, redirecting me.
And I pray …
“Dear God, what plans have I made for today that this verse needs to interrupt?
“God, what thoughts did I bring in from yesterday that this verse needs to rearrange?
“And God, what heart attitudes have I been carrying that this verse needs to redirect?”
His Word is the protective covering over my plans, my mind and my heart. To let me run free without it will surely find me tripping over my own selfishness, insecurities and weaknesses. So, with His love letter, He reminds me to pause, pause, pause.
Pause and let the Holy Spirit intervene in my natural flesh response.
Pause so I don’t make the conversations all about me.
Pause and remember: I’m not always right.
Pause to see the blessings, so many blessings, and say “thank you” at least once an hour.
Pause to serve, pause to give, pause to encourage when everyone else rushes by.
The book of Proverbs has even more to say on how taking the time to cherish God’s Word can lead to us being changed by His Word. For example …
“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding — indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding … Then you will understand what is right and just and fair — every good path” (Proverbs 2:1-3, 9, NIV).
“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you” (Proverbs 4:6-8, NIV).
We don’t have to get overwhelmed with the enormity and depth of the Bible.
It’s okay if we read just a verse or two today.
But more importantly than reading His words, we must choose to receive them. And even more importantly, we must live them. Because the more we apply God’s teaching to our lives, the more it becomes part of us.
God’s Word to me. God’s Word in me. God’s Word working through me. God’s Word lived out by me. Let this be the rhythm of Truth in my life.
Dear Lord, help me to see You today in a single word or a single verse. You are all-powerful, and anything is possible through You. May Your words and Your truth seep into the plans I make and every thought I think today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.