For many of us, our daily devotion can hit certain “dry spots.” These are times when, although we may be in the Word, we lack a certain focus. Or maybe, starting a standing appointment with God each day through the reading of His Word and prayer may be a new idea altogether.
A few years ago, I read a book called “In It To Win It” by Steve Lawson. In this book, Lawson presents five questions that we should use when reading Scripture. The goal of these questions is to not only help us understand God’s Word but to also add a sense of clarity and purpose to our time with Him. My paraphrase of his questions are below:
1. Is there a command to obey?
The Bible is filled with divine commands for you and me to obey. There is no question what God’s will is in these areas. Our obedience to His commandments leads us precisely into the center of His will. For example, “Thou shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). This is clear-cut. Non-negotiable. Black and white. There is no doubt what God’s will is in this matter. His track will always be found within the boundaries of obedience to His commandments.
2. Is there an example to follow?
A major portion of the Bible is written in story form—narrative and bibliographical literature. The first seventeen books of the Old Testament are narrative; the first five of the New Testament are bibliographical and narrative. These historical books contain the lives of real people who followed God. Their godly lives are recorded as an example for us to follow (Romans 15:4). As we imitate their lives, their walks of faith reveal God’s track to us.
Let’s use Daniel as an example. As I read that this exiled prophet placed a higher allegiance on obeying God than obeying government, his life reveals God’s way for me today. When I am confronted with a similar tension between the earthly and the heavenly, I must choose to obey God, not men. Always.
3. Is there a promise to claim?
Just as a deceased father’s will governs the management of his vast estate, so too is the Bible filled with promises from God to His children—to bless, to enrich, to satisfy. God’s estate is a vast reservoir of spiritual riches able to meet all the needs of our life. Charles Spurgeon once compared these divine promises to blank checks issued by God to His children. Already signed by God, they are to be cosigned by His children, brought to heaven’s treasury, and drawn against the limitless wealth of heaven’s account.
4. Is there a sin to avoid?
The Bible holds up before us certain sins that must be avoided at all costs. They are clearly out of bounds. For example, “This is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). God’s will is always found where purity is maintained. Any step toward immorality is definitely out of bounds and off track.
5. Is there a principle to follow?
A principle in the Bible is a timeless truth tightly stated. It is a short, pithy, practical statement of truth drawn from a passage and used to guide our lives. Principles are broad statements of truth that universally apply to every situation we face. For example, Joshua led the children of God in a march around the city of Jericho, giving a shout of victory as they trusted God to fight for them. The principle is that we should worship before we do anything else. We should praise God in the face of the impossible and watch Him act on our behalf.
My challenge for you: Take the next month and write these five questions on an index card and keep it in your Bible. Reference it when you study. Obviously, the better we know God’s Word, the better we will know His will for us.