Taking It All In

In our day of fast-paced ingestion and digestion we don't leave ourselves much time for contemplation. For thinking. For taking it all in. We are often too busy taking photos of an event or scene to really see it, capturing images before (or in place of) capturing memories. I fear this translates into our interaction with Scripture and the Christian faith. We get the beats, but miss the melody and arrangement of the gospel song. And if we are not willing to slow down and take a long look we will continue to merely gain the smallest glimpse of what God wants us to have a God-sized vision of.

The sermon your pastor preached this Sunday--can you remember the text? Did you talk it over with your friends or family? You see, that sermon is more likely to bear fruit if you take the word preached and hide it in your heart.  The passage of Scripture you read this morning--did you carry it with you after your "devotional time," or was it more like brushing your teeth. It was good to do. Important even. It made you feel good. But it is out of your mind once you walk away for work.

Taking it all in means that the truth of God is something to ponder. To look deeply into, and hold it in your heart. I want to do better, and I want our people to do better. Here are six helps for taking it all in today (and tomorrow).

Read the passage several times.

Do you really think you've got it after one reading? Pour over those verses. Take your time.

Write it down.

This will help more than you might imagine. You don;t have to write down the whole passage, but put pencil to paper where the word is striking your heart.

Ask a lot of questions.

What does this passage tell me about God? About our human condition? Our sinfulness, our neediness? What should I do, stop doing, and believe in response to this passage?

Pray through it.

Ask God to open your eyes, help you understand and receive his word, and to sanctify you through it, just as Jesus prayed. 

Revisit the passage throughout the day.

You can do this via your memory, or by opening the word. Use your lunch break, or down time between meetings or projects to seek the Lord in the word you have been taking in today. Let that Scripture penetrate your prayers as you go through your day.

Share it with someone when the opportunity presents itself.

And the opportunity will present itself. You may not have done this before, but when the word is on your heart, and you interact with the people God has placed around you, you are more equipped than you can imagine. Sure, share it on Twitter. But share it with those you can look in the eyes as well.

Don't miss what God has said in his word. Don't skim. Take it all in.

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About Joe Thorn

Joe is the founding and Lead Pastor of Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles, IL, and the author of Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself (Crossway/ReLit). He was a contributor to The Story ESV Bible and The Mission of God Study Bible. Joe is a graduate of Moody Bible Inst.(BA) and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv). He and his wife Jen have four children. Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeThorn.

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