How You Can Draw Closer To God

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

If you desire to draw close to God and stay there, here are some ideas on how to do that.

Meditating on the Word

I believe that meditating on the Word of God is a lost art today. It is one thing to read the Word; it is altogether different to contemplate the Word. I would rather read only a few lines of Scripture and mediate on these than read a whole book and not remember most of it. When we take time to reflect, ponder, and mediate on His Word, the Word penetrates deep into our mind and this allows us to internalize it to see just how awesome our God is. We lose out on so much when we simply read over the Word and don’t meditate on it. When the Psalmist said, we are to “hide your Word” in our heart, I believe he means memorizing Scripture…and perhaps, meditating on it. Yes, memorizing Scripture may be part of this hiding the Word in our hearts, but there is so much power, even in one verse…even in one word…that we don’t tap that power when we read right past it. The Scriptures often tell us to do that both day and night, so you can never meditate on it if you are not reading it.

“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97

Keeping Text in Context

It is so easy to rip text out of context because if you take text out of context it makes it a pretext, and possibly a false one. That’s how cults are formed. We need to take the whole context of the verse within the context of the paragraph within the context of the chapter, and sometimes, as in the small Book of Jude, within the whole context of the book. I have heard and read of Christians who take one text and use it as a proof text and get into heated arguments over what they believe. This is typically pride-induced. What they want is to use the Word of God to prove they’re right, but what happens is Christians wield the Word of God like a sword and use it against other Christians. How this must grieve the heart of God.

Personalize the Bible

What I mean here is when Scriptures include the word “you,” put your name in that verse. Here’s how it works:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world (you) that he gave his only Son, that if (you or anyone) believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Colossians 1:21-22 “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you blameless and above reproach before him.”

You could also use a personal pronoun like this: “And I, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.”

Some verses are already personalized like Colossians 2:6-7 which says, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

Prescriptive verses Descriptive

All Scripture is written for believers, but not all Scripture is written to believers. In other words, we can’t read about the animal sacrifices in Leviticus and try to apply these to believers today. These verses about the animal sacrifices were written to Israel (prescriptive) and not to the church, but they do point us to Jesus’ coming sacrifice. These laws are prescriptive. That is, they are prescribed for Israel. For us, these laws are descriptive and they describe how God sees sin and that sin requires the shedding of blood and brings about death. Paul wrote that he was crucified with Christ, but this is descriptive of what it means to no longer live in the flesh but to have Christ living within us (Gal 2:20). They are descriptive of the Christian’s daily walk, however we can’t read this and really believe that Paul was crucified with Christ on Calvary.

Pray for the Spirit’s Guidance

One crucial part of reading the Bible is allowing the Spirit to guide us. There are many times when I have felt like I just read a scripture for the very first time. It’s not that I didn’t pay attention to them before, but it was a whole new revelation of the meaning behind the verse. This is what happens when we pray for the Spirit’s guidance. The Holy Spirit can help us make sense of the Scriptures if we pray for His impartation of what God’s Word is saying to us. Ask the Spirit to show you why God is saying this in His Word, what He is saying to you, and where is this applicable in your life. As Jesus told the disciples, so He tells believers today, that “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).

Pray for Application

I touched on this in the previous paragraph but the Bible is God speaking to us. Many people say that “God spoke to me about…” but I always say, does it match what God’s Word says? We want to know how certain Scriptures apply to our everyday lives. For example, Jesus said to “go into all the world making disciples of all nations,” but few of us can go into all the world. For us, it may mean we can at least go next door (Matt 28:19-20). Was Jesus just speaking to the disciples or was Christ telling us to be His witnesses too? Surely, He was speaking to us all, because the apostles are no longer here on earth and can no longer go into “all the world.”

Bible Reading Plan

I love the advice of many Bible teachers and scholars who advise us to have a daily reading plan so that we can gain wisdom from the Scriptures. I read some out of the Old Testament and then some from the New Testament. As hard as it is to do with our busy schedules, we must take time or make time for our daily bread. Don’t worry so much about how much you read as much as you are reading it daily. We don’t eat one meal on Sunday expecting it to last us all week do we? So we must have a daily intake of the Word of God to sustain us through the difficult trials, temptations, and tests that come to every believer during the week. Have a plan and try to stick to it.

Take Notes

I love to mark my Bible. The paper is not holy….God’s Word is. I highlight certain passages that are very important to me. When I see certain verses I write them out or highlight them so that I can memorize them. Second Corinthians 5:21 and 1 John 1:9 are very important to me because these are essential to sharing the gospel. When we read something, then highlight it, and then write it out, we give our mind three ways in which the Word can sink down deep into our minds, and then we can recall them when we need them.

Conclusion

As for me I like to start in the Old Testament and go from Genesis to Malachi, but also in the New Testament, from the Gospel of Matthew to Revelation. In fact, I recommend you read some out of the Old Testament and New Testament every day. That keeps the Scriptures in context, to avoid a pretext, and a false one at that.

Here is some related reading for you: Where is the Best Place to Start Reading the Bible?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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