“Sanctify them by the Truth; Your word is truth.”
Jesus spoke these words in his high priestly prayer. There he is asking God, the Father, to do His work of conforming our lives to that of the Son. That’s what sanctification is! It is a life that is more and more shaped by the presence of Jesus so that we begin to look like him both inside (in our thoughts and affections) and outside (in our behavior and words). But notice how it is God does this work of sanctification. Jesus says it is through the presence of His Word in our lives. It is God’s Word, worked into us by God’s Spirit that brings about a Christ-like life! The Psalmist declares this same truth in Psalm 119:11, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
So here is the question: How are you storing up God’s word in your heart? What is your regular practice of exposing your life to the sanctifying Truth of God’s Word? For me, that means having a daily pattern of putting my face in the Bible and reading what God says with an open and ready heart. Practically speaking that means the following:
• I have a regular time each day that I have committed to meeting with God and hearing him speak. For me that needs to be first thing in the morning
• I begin each morning with a short prayer asking God to “open my eyes” (Ps 119:18) and show me what I need to see from His word. On those mornings when my heart is stale, I ask him to give me a greater desire to know Him.
• I use a little notebook to keep track of what I read. My pattern is to read a chapter from the Old Testament, the New, and from Psalms or Proverbs. If life happens and I miss a day, I don’t sweat it. I just pick up where I left off.
• I read aloud, slowly, seeking to let the words fill my mind and heart as they direct my thoughts toward God. Sometimes I stop and pray in response to something I have read. If I find my mind is drifting I will stop, go back and read that portion again, praying for better understanding.
• When God shows me something I need to respond to with praise or faith or repentance, I try to do so immediately. When he shows me an action I need to take, I write it down to pursue later in the day when I am able
• I finish by thanking God for His word and asking Him to help me apply it in my life throughout the day. And then I turn to pray for you and for others.
However you do it, get into God’s word and let it get in to you!