No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There simply is no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture. The reasons for this are obvious. In the Bible God tells us about Himself, and especially about Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God. The Bible unfolds the Law of God to us and shows us how we’ve all broken it. There we learn how Christ died as a sinless, willing Substitute for breakers of God’s Law and how we must repent and believe in Him to be right with God. In the Bible we learn the ways and will of the Lord. We find in Scripture how to live in a way that is pleasing to God as well as best and most fulfilling for ourselves. None of this eternally essential information can be found anywhere else except the Bible. Therefore if we would know God and be Godly, we must know the Word of God—intimately.
Willowcreek Association surveyed people from 1000 churches to discover what transforms the mind. Here is what they learned:
Reflection on Scripture Is the Most Powerful Spiritual Practice for Every Segment
We would love to print the header above this paragraph across the top of the program for every church leadership training event in the country. Reflection on Scripture is, by far, the most influential personal spiritual practice …
And that’s only part of the story. Because when we statistically compare the responses of those who take the REVEAL survey, of all the personal spiritual practices, we find that Reflection on Scripture is much more influential than any other practice by a significant margin.
A survey of 70,000 churches confirmed these findings:
Research into the spiritual lives of seventy thousand Americans—of all ages, from nearly every corner of the nation—is proving something many Christians have doubted: There’s power in God’s Word. A majority of those we surveyed showed us that consistently engaging the Bible is the key to knowing God intimately, getting unstuck, and growing spiritually.
There are significant differences in the moral behaviors and spiritual maturity of believers who read or listen to the Bible at least four times a week compared to those who read or hear Scripture less often or never at all.
If you want to live the Christian life, you can’t do it by merely trying really hard. You must be transformed. You must be transformed by the renewing of your mind. You must be transformed by scripture. You must be transformed by memorizing, meditating, reading, hearing and studying God’s Word.
But, even that is not enough. We are transformed by the renewing of our mind. We are transformed by training ourselves to be godly, and we are also transformed by worship. We become what we behold. That is the subject of the next chapter.
Greg L. Hawkins and Cally Parkinson, Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal about Spiritual Growth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011).
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