Week Two, Day One
“ When I really let God speak to me and apply the Bible to my life, I start to hear God’s words come out of my mouth in place of my own, and He says things a lot better than I ever could!”
Jordan , High school senior
Any time that you sit down to study your Bible, resist the temptation to find the quickest or most obvious answers to the questions that you ask just so that you can be finished and move on to other things. As you’ve learned from Psalm 119, studying God’s word is the key to becoming a successful follower of Christ and living a life of meaning and joy. Many people want to grow in Christ or change their life direction; but few people want to actually get their face and their mind into God’s word so He can work in their heart.
So, how do you know whether you have studied enough to change your life? That’s a tough question to answer. Only God knows what He wants you to learn during your Bible study on any given day, and only you and God know whether you gave your study your full attention and best effort. The key is submitting yourself to God’s leadership as you study the Bible so that when you discover truth in God’s word you evaluate how it applies to your life.
Usually, if you have studied well and done your best to apply the Bible to your life, you will come away from your time alone with God with a sense of having learned or experienced something significant. Whether you feel convicted or inspired, you will know that you have taken a bite of truth and given your heart and mind something to chew on all day long.
Read Psalm 119:58-60. (Notebooks ready!) Use the God Follower method of Bible study with this passage just as you have been.
- What does this passage tell me about God?
- What does this passage tell me about how to follow God?
Look at your answers. Could they be more specific? For instance, instead of answering the second question like this, “I need to seek God with all my heart,” you could be more specific and say something like this, “I will go to church, read my Bible, and listen to lessons and sermons closely so I can learn more about God.”
Use the God Follower method again using the same passage. This time, try to be more specific, especially in your answer to the second question.
By answering the questions listed in the God Follower method carefully and specifically, you develop a sort of “game plan” for your own life that you can begin following immediately when you get up from your study time.
What will you take away from your study today? What’s your game plan? Have you given yourself something to think about through the day?
- Ask God to give you a heart that wants to hear His commands and obey them.
- Ask God to teach you what it means to seek and follow Him.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
Use the God Follower method to study 2 Timothy 2:15. Concentrate and give your best effort, being as specific in your answers as possible.
Week Two, Day Two
Now that you know how to study your Bible without help, let’s talk about what you do with what you’ve learned.
In order to digest a bite of food, you have to chew it. To get all of the truth from a passage of scripture, you have to meditate on it. Many religions promote meditation, but the kind of meditation that God tells us to do is different than any other. God doesn’t want you to empty your mind to think about nothing or to concentrate on words spoken by man. He wants you to meditate, or think about, His Word, the Bible, as you go about your day, allowing your mind to explore what you have studied and see how you might apply it as you go through your day.
Though you should meditate on God’s word all the time, always keeping it on the desktop of your mind, it’s important to set aside time to be alone with God. There’s something about sitting still and listening quietly as you think about God’s word that makes it easier to hear the Holy Spirit speak to your heart.
Sometimes, the bite of truth that you have taken in your Bible study time is just too big or too important not to take additional time at some point during your day to just sit quietly and chew on it awhile, waiting for God to explain it to you. Sometimes, you need to sit and wait for God’s direction and guidance, and sometimes, you just need to talk to God and wait quietly for Him to comfort you by reminding you of the truth as you’ve read it in the Bible. Remember, reading the Bible is not like reading any other book. The goal of reading the Bible is not to finish the story; it is to know God and how to follow God.
From this point until a new method of Bible study is introduced, please use the God Follower method of Bible study when told to “study” a certain passage of scripture.
Study Psalm 5:3; Psalm 1:1-2.
- Thank God for speaking to your heart through the Bible.
- Ask God to remind you of what you studied today as you go about your daily routine so that you can practice meditating on His word.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
Study Psalm 139:23-24.
Week Two, Day Three
As we discussed yesterday, it’s important to find time to be alone with God so that He can explain His truth to you, comfort you, and guide you. Most often, God will do these things by reminding you of things that you have read in the Bible. You stand a much better chance of being able to hear God’s voice clearly and making sense of what He is doing in your life if you memorize scripture. Each time that you add a verse to your memory bank, it’s like adding words to the vocabulary that you and God use to communicate, and it deepens your relationship with Him.
Let’s face it; you will not have your Bible open all the time in your hand for quick reference. When you choose not to memorize scripture, you choose to face life unarmed and you will fail more often than you would if you had taken the time to pack the verses that you need the most in your mind.
God Follower Study Proverbs 3:1-6.
Let’s see if you can memorize just one verse per month throughout the course of this study. Not too hard, right? Not at all.
Let’s start with Psalm 119:11. Read over it a couple of times and then write it down on a piece of paper. Hang that piece of paper where you will see it several times a day (on a bathroom mirror, by your bed, in your car, etc.).
Every time that you see it, read it. Practice saying it from memory a phrase at a time until you can say the whole thing at once without looking. Whether it takes several days or just a few minutes for you to memorize a verse, the important thing is that you are arming yourself against the enemy and taking steps to make sure that you live a life that pleases God.
See if you can find a scripture memory buddy. At the very least, let your friends or family quiz you on what you have learned. You will find it easier to stay motivated when someone else is checking up on you.
- Thank God for giving you the Bible so that you can be a successful follower of Christ.
- Commit to begin memorizing scripture or to continue to add to the scripture that you have already memorized.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
Study Romans 12:19-21. Notice how Paul quotes scripture when he writes to the church in Rome? Wouldn’t it be helpful to have scripture handy like that when you need it?
Week Two, Day Four
Using What You’ve Learned
God Follower Study Matthew 4:1-11. If an individual verse within this passage stands out to you, study it again after you have handled the passage as a whole.
- Thank God for equipping you (giving you what you need) to face temptation and win.
- Ask God for the strength to use the weapon that He has provided when you get the opportunity to do so.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
Study 1 Peter 3:8-12. Notice how Peter, like Paul, quotes scripture to prove a point? Why is it important for anyone who wants to lead others spiritually be able to apply the Bible to his/her own life first?
Week Two, Day Five
Keeping Track of God’s Activity in Your Life
As you continue to grow in your relationship with God, it is smart to keep track of God’s activity in your life so that you can stay focused on following Him and take encouragement from the change that He has already brought in your life. Journaling is one way, if not the best way, to keep track of God’s activity in your life.
Journaling may sound tedious and boring, but it doesn’t have to be that at all. Your journal is just that, your journal, and you can choose to use it as little or as much as you want to use it. Your journal may include any one or all of the following things:
- A list of prayer requests and the dates/ways God has answered them.
- Notes from your personal Bible study time (which you have already been doing as a part of this study in your notebook).
- A list of scripture to memorize.
- A list of questions that you hope to answer in future Bible study.
- Any personal thoughts/comments that you may have about what is happening in your life.
As you continue to journal, you will discover what type of journaling works for you and what weighs you down or discourages you from wanting to study your Bible. You may even discover ways to journal that are not listed above.
Some people consider journaling to be a spiritual discipline, while others do not journal at all. We encourage you to try to keep a journal, in some form, as you continue to follow this study so that you can discover from personal experience whether journaling might serve as a valuable tool in your spiritual growth. Those who journal have found the habit to be helpful in many ways. Here are a just few:
- As a reminder of God’s faithfulness in the past.
- As a guide in decision-making. By looking at where God has led in the past, you may be able to better determine where He is leading now.
- As a prayer/scripture memory guide.
- As a place to record personal thoughts/questions that may never be spoken out loud.
- As a means of watching the change that God has brought in your heart over time.
- As a source of accountability for the commitments that you have made.
- As a resource for encouraging others
- A place to write down what God has said to you
The key to journaling is to remember that your journal is for your eyes and God’s only. Don’t ever write to impress others or to impress God. (What’s the point? He knows you better than you know yourself.) Your writing doesn’t have to be any more readable or detailed than necessary for you to make sense of it later on.
That said; let’s take a look at why it is important to make an effort to keep track of God’s activity.
Keeping in mind today’s discussion on journaling, study Hebrews 11:29-12:1-3 as a whole and Hebrews 12:3 as an individual verse.
- Look back over the journal that you have kept so far in this study. Thank God for specific things that He has taught you.
- Thank God for the encouragement of His activity in your life and the lives of others that you are able to read about in the Bible.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
Study Psalm 77:11-12.
Suggested Reading: Joshua 24:1-27.
This is just part of the story of Joshua. As you study this passage, consider the importance of accountability in the life of a child of God who truly wants to live the way that God wants him/her to live. Why is it so important? Try to think of ways that you can build accountability into your own life.
Be sure to practice your memory verse!!!