21 May Create A Spiritual Training Program
May 21, 2021
Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today. . . . For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life.
If we are going to resist temptation and thrive in a hostile environment, we need to train in righteousness. Let me give you four practical tips for how to engage in your own training program in God’s Word. First of all, have a scheduled time and place for memorizing the Bible. Maybe five minutes, maybe ten minutes. Maybe in the morning, maybe at night. The key is commit to a time and place where you are going to spend a few moments reading God’s Word. Jeff Bridges, one of my favorite actors, was asked what advice he wished he had received at age twenty. He said, “I got the advice–I just didn’t take it! My dad would say, ‘It’s all about habit, Jeff. You gotta get into good habits.’ And I said, ‘No, Dad, you gotta live each moment. Live it as the first one and be fresh.’ And he says, ‘That’s a wonderful thought, but that’s not what we are. We are habitual creatures. It’s about developing these grooves.’ As I age, I can see his point. What you practice, that’s what you become.” We all have to work to develop these grooves of righteousness in our life, so that when we are assaulted by anger, lust, greed, or worry, we go into that groove of right acting.
Second, start small. Did you know most of the books of the New Testament could be read in less than twenty minutes? Start with a book like Philippians or James that is very practical. If you cannot handle a whole book, just take a chapter. Here are some chapters you might want to consider: If you are facing a crisis, read Psalm 46. If you are facing temptation in your life, read James 1. If you are worried or concerned about finances, read Matthew 6. Start small.
Third, read the verses out loud, especially these verses you are trying to memorize. As you do that, it will help hide God’s Word in your heart.
Finally, remember the value of God’s Word. You might be thinking, “Pastor, I cannot memorize anything. I am just not good at memorizing.” If somebody told you they would pay you $100,000 if you could memorize Philippians, do think you could memorize Philippians? It is not a question of ability; it is a question of motivation. Some of those verses I had memorized twenty or thirty years ago have come back at just the right time and saved me from disaster that would have cost me a lot more than $100,000. That is the value of God’s Word. Moses said it this way in Deuteronomy 32:46-47: “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today. . . . For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life.” This Word is life to us. The goal is not to memorize verses just to know a certain number of verses. The goal is to memorize verses so that when you encounter unforeseen turbulence, you can trust your training until you land safely. That is the value of God’s Word.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #5: Trust Your Training” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Jeff Bridges, as quoted in Andy Greene, “The Last Word: Jeff Bridges on Dylan, the Dude and Surviving Box-Office Duds,” Rolling Stone, September 2016, https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-features/the-last-word-jeff-bridges-on-dylan-the-dude-and-surviving-box-office-duds-250631/.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.