World Magazine has a columnist who hits home for me almost every time.
Here is her latest from the Worldmag blog. Very good stuff!
Written by ANDRÉE SEUOctober 3, 7:57 AM
Read this half verse with me: “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy …” (Jude 24).
If you just read it the way I used to read my Bible, it didn’t help you much. But I have discovered the blessing of praying immediately after reading a passage of Scripture.
Now read the same verse again and spend time praying over it afterward. (I’ll wait.)
How did it feel when you asked God to “keep you from falling”? Or when you thanked Him for being “able”—and willing—to “present you before his glorious presence without fault”? Did you get excited at the thought? If not, did you ask Him to make you excited? Did you insist on more of a sense of His “glorious presence”? Did you pester Him for that “great joy”?
There is a mystery in the universe that you and I have not begun to plumb—the spiritual alchemy that happens when we speak back to God about what He just spoke to us (preferably out loud). It completes a metaphysical circuit. (I believe the Bible hints at this in Romans 10:9.)
The opposite alchemy is dreadful. I find that if I do not pray at once over spiritual teaching I read in a book (such as by John Piper or Martin Lloyd-Jones or John Frame), or spiritual teaching I hear in a sermon, it turns into an intellectual collector’s item. It either evaporates from the mind like letters written in disappearing ink, or it becomes a vile idol in my intellectual arsenal. What was meant to give life brings death.
Read it. Pray it. Own it.