Ever notice how you can pick right up with certain friends after years apart? Ever notice how you need intentional time to reconnect with a spouse after days apart? This strange contradiction makes more sense when you think of relationships like gears. With old friends, basic trust folds you right back together again. But with a spouse, the gears of intimacy are so fine, like those in a swiss watch, the smallest grain of sand can affect them.
Relating to God includes both pictures of friend and spouse. Developing finer “gears” requires quality and quantity of time. Below are five essentials to make it purposeful.
Martin Luther’s barber once ask him how to pray. His response is published in a book called, A Simple Way to Pray. In it, he describes how The Lord’s Prayer guides him each morning in his time with God.
In a fictional conversation with a man named “Malcolm,” C.S. Lewis offers some freeing advice on prayer. (It’s a book representing many real talks he had with people about praying.) He says this: “We must lay before him what is in us; not what ought to be in us.”
A Good Translation
J.B. Philips, while translating the New Testament from the original Greek, said– “I feel like I’m rewiring my house with the power still turned on.” Although we don’t have the first manuscripts, Philips’s description fits what we know of the history of the Bible as it has been handed down from generation to generation. People guarded these texts with the utmost respect and accountability, age to age.
Because the scriptures were written in Hebrew (Old Test.) and Greek (New Test.), it’s important to choose a translation of the Bible faithful to its meaning in the original context. Some versions are very wooden and others do as much interpreting as translating. The best translations of the Bible for daily reading are called “dynamic equivalents.” The ESV and NIV strike a good balance.
“I call it ‘Lucky Dipping.'” That’s how an elderly gentleman once described to me the experience of opening the Bible and reading something relevant to a situation he happened to be facing. Rather than pressing that kind of event into a daily approach, it’s important to choose an intentional reading plan. The following link has plenty of options: You Version. I use their application for the iPad.
Applying is more about where than what. In other words, don’t busy yourself with action steps without first owning what you learn. We’re often too eager do something with a new insight. Instead, the point and purpose of wisdom is to let it get into places which are resistant to change. Reflection, meditation, and discussion can be necessary to get truth into those craggy parts of the human heart.
It may not seem to fit your personality to have a morning devotion, much less to jot down thoughts. However, I can think of no other exercise which helps personalize the insights of scripture. Commit to it for 30 days and see what happens.