This is part four in our series called “Breaking Down Your Quiet Time.” This week we are breaking down the daily sections in the Give Me Jesus Journal to help you better understand how to journal the Word and study Scripture. The new Give Me Jesus quiet time journal releases September 16th in the Well-Watered Women Co. We hope this series is edifying and encourages you to open the Word each day! (Note: You can use this daily breakdown in any journal if you are unable to purchase a Give Me Jesus Journal! Our mission is to equip you to study the Word, and we hope this makes that possible.)
Engaging with Scripture
In the rush of our daily to-do lists, it is sometimes hard to open God’s Word and read it, let alone truly engage with it. Our time with God won’t “just happen” unless we make a concerted and disciplined effort to do so. When we engage with the Word, we are present with the text. We know Jesus himself is the Word made flesh (John 1:14), and God speaks to us powerfully in the living pages we read (Hebrews 4:12). He communicates with us, molds us, shapes us, and encourages us through the words of Scripture that are always relevant, no matter what we face.
The Ask and Apply section of the Give Me Jesus Journal has two parts that help move us to action by the power of the Holy Spirit as we read and study the Bible. After all, in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). Our faith is alive! Studying God’s Word should spur us on to obedience, fueled by grace to walk in the good works God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10).
Let’s break down these two parts of the Ask and Apply section together:
What I Am Learning About God
One of the most beautiful things about our God is that he never changes (Malachi 3:6). His character is sure and certain. We are constantly changing, growing, and evolving as the Father sanctifies us and conforms us to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29).
God in his kindness does not show us every single facet of his character, because we could not handle it. Moses begged God to reveal more of himself, saying, “Show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). He longed to see and experience the glory of his Heavenly Father, knowing that the Lord’s presence would empower him for the work he had been called to do. We should be seeking, as Moses did, to know God more and to understand his character, though his fullness is beyond human comprehension.
In this section of your journal that asks what you are learning about God, stop and think about these questions:
- What does this text show me about God’s character?
- What did the people in this text learn about who God is?
- Does this passage reveal something about the Persons of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
- How does this text point to an ultimate hope in Jesus?
Here is an example of what I have written in this section:
“He holds every victory to every single battle. He knows the end to every story. With him there is great reward. He is mighty to save. His promises never fail.”
When we read the Word, we know that “Every story in the Bible whispers his [Jesus’] name,” as Sally Lloyd-Jones writes in The Jesus Storybook Bible. Even in books like Esther and Song of Solomon that do not explicitly mention the name of God, we know that his character is woven through the beautiful tapestry of a story written with the utmost intention.
When we choose to focus on the character of God, our trials and worries pale in comparison with his goodness and love. We find peace when we learn from his unchanging nature and faithfulness exhibited in generations past, knowing that his faithfulness will carry us, too.
How This Changes the Way That I Live
James encourages us to remember that we are saved by faith. But he also explains faith without works is dead (James 2:17). In other words, if we are saved for “fire insurance” purposes only, but have a life with no outward signs (fruit) of a walk with Christ, we are ineffective for the Gospel.
If we are in Christ, our greatest desire should be to glorify and honor his name. We have been crucified with Christ, and the life we now live is in Him (Galatians 2:20). Everything we do should be tied to his purposes and filtered through the lens of his holy Word.
Similarly, David writes in Psalm 139:23–24,
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
We may find that the Word convicts us and shows us areas of unbelief or unintentional sin in our lives. Often, what we are learning about God highlights a weakness in our hearts and minds that points us to our need for him. In response to the “What I Am Learning About God” section above, on that same day, I wrote,
“When I am overwhelmed by all that is happening in the world and how it affects my heart, I can rest in knowing that my God is near and that he is good. He is El Roi, and he sees me.”
The purpose of reflecting on how the Word changes our daily lives is not for us to make a list of all the things we need to do better. It is instead for us to consider the specific ways the Potter wants to mold and shape us (Isaiah 29:16). He has great plans for us, and he knows that when we fix our eyes on him, we are secure, content, and able to believe him with rooted trust. This belief then moves us to live a life that is surrendered to him, trusting that he will indeed change us—not to be “better” Christians, but to look more and more like him.