Incline My Heart
Last Thursday night I was so blessed to gather with many women from my home church as we spent some time looking at the incredible statements the Bible makes about itself in Psalm 19:7-11. As we unpacked the beautiful poetry of this passage of Scripture, given to us by the Holy Spirit through King David, we beheld the incredible nature of the Bible and it's life-giving, sustaining and all-sufficient qualities.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
It was such a joy to unpack these verses together and be encouraged that the God of the Universe would choose to reveal himself to us not only generally in Creation (as seen in verses 1-6 of this psalm) but also explicitly through his written word (as seen in verses 7-11 of this psalm).
But along with the joy that came from being with our sisters and studying God's word together, we had to ask ourselves a sobering question. If we REALLY believe that time spent reading, studying and memorizing the Bible revives our soul, makes us wise, rejoices our hearts, and enlightens our eyes, why are Christian women today so quick to give up this important spiritual discipline of spending time in the word?
Don't we all crave to be revived, made wise, to have a spirit of rejoicing and our eyes enlightened? As Christian women living in this day and age, these promises of what the word does to us and for us should (and does) make us yearn for these things. So why do some continually struggle with making this a priority?
The problem is not a lack of knowledge of what to do (read the Bible) or how to do it (study the Bible) but rather, a very weak will and lack of resolve to be women that are committed to the Scriptures. Too often our emotions, our physical state or our environment prevent women from being diligent students of the Bible.
Emotions - There's the excuse of, "I don't feel like it, so I don't want to be a hypocrite or non-authentic in reading the Bible because I don't really desire to." This excuse has to stop. Do you always feel like providing dinner for your family every night? Do you always feel like putting gas in your car? Do you always feel like changing the baby's diaper? Do you always feel like doing the laundry? If we are honest, the answer to these questions is, "no." There are things we do EVERY DAY that don't necessarily invoke strong sentimental reactions in us but we do them because we know they need to get done and in some cases, we do them because we know that either our well-being or the well-being of those we love depends upon us completing that task. The same should be true of our time in the Bible. We need to push through the, "I don't feel like its" and just do it because we understand that the well-being of our very soul depends upon it!
Physical State - exhaustion. For wives, moms, or any woman there's the excuse of being too tired to open up God's word. Again, this must stop. Go to bed earlier. Stop drinking coffee by 4pm so that when your head hits the pillow, you are able to sleep. Get your coffee ready the night before so that you can wake up first thing in the morning, fix yourself a cup and spend those important moments with your heavenly father. I guarantee you will NEVER regret the time in God's word. Though your physical body may still be tired after your time in the Bible, your soul will be filled up with everything you need to go about your day.
Environment - My kids are crazy. The house isn't clean. I don't have a spot that's "just mine" in this house to open my Bible. All of these are more common excuses. Ladies, we are NEVER going to find the perfect environment this side of heaven. We each must search out the best environment that has as minimal distractions as possible and let us be content with that! Mine is my bedroom. First thing in the morning, with the bedroom door still closed, I prop myself up in bed, reach over to my nightstand and grab my Bible. A close girlfriend does her Bible time when she sits her young children down for breakfast every morning. What a benefit this is for her children to be able to daily witness their mom studying God's word! Another friend rises early, grabs her coffee and does her morning devotions at her kitchen table. Wherever you choose to spend time in God's word, you must know that the environment will never be perfect. But be committed to doing the best with the space you've got and get into your Bible!
As I thought through these things the word of God again proved itself to be sufficient for all things, even in providing us everything we need to help us master the important spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, study and memorization.
Over the next week or so, I will unpack the simple acronym that I suggested my sisters (and myself) pray through in working to be more faithful to the Bible. Four verses to pray as soon as we wake up in the morning, to get our hearts in the right place and ask God's help in making us women of the word.
The acronym is I GOT...God's word.
The first letter we encounter in this acronym is the "I" and it stands for Psalm 119:36, "Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!"
May this be the first thing we pray every morning as our eyes flutter open! How sweet it is that we can humbly ask our heavenly father to instill in us a deep desire to study his word. I think it's so important that the second part of this verse distinguishes that the opposite side of the coin here is selfishness. Isn't this the root of all sin? Every time we sin we choose ourselves over God. How starkly evident that is when we give into our emotions, physical state or environment over spending time with him.
I hope you'll join me over the next week or so in unpacking the rest of the acronym. I hope you'll join me in praying this verse first thing in the morning tomorrow and every morning thereafter. How vitally important it is for us to be women that are committed, faithful and diligent to the Scriptures.