I read a statistic recently that 35% of church-going people in Australia rarely or never read the Bible. Only one in 5 read it every day.
What does that say about how we Christians view the Word of God?
We need a Bible revival!
How My Devotional Life Dried Up
One year ago, I was suffering from burnout.
My devotional life was one area that had suffered. Sure, I still picked up my Bible every day… but the joy had gone out of my devotions.
The act of doing devotions had become a duty. The Bible’s content had become yet another barometer of Christian performance—instructions on how I should live my Christian life. And I had nothing left to give.
To be honest, I was not only burnt out, I was bored.
I have been acquainted with the Bible since childhood, have read it many times over and still today read it from cover to cover. I have studied it both personally and with the help of great Christian teachers.
But I had lost my passion for God’s Word.
During the course of this year, I have experienced renewal in my devotional life.
How To Fall In Love With The Bible Again
Here are some keys that have helped me recover my love for God’s Word:
1. Realise Something Is Missing
Jesus said ‘ask, seek, knock,’ (Matt 7:7-8) but we will never do any of those things until we become conscious that we have a need.
Until we realise that what we are experiencing in relation to the Bible is less than what it could be, we will never change.
It was only when I realised how dry I was and how dead my devotional life had become that I decided to do something about it. I began to ‘Ask, seek and knock.’
2. Reconsider the Value of the Bible
Recently I read a news item about a real-life ‘slum-dog millionaire’. This man was living in a slum whilst he had access to millions of dollars.
Like this guy, I had been living like a spiritual pauper whilst sitting on a fortune—God’s Word.
As I began my seeking time, I went through Psalm 119, in which David expounds the wonders of God’s Word. One of the verses that stood out to me was, ‘Your word has given me life’ (Ps 119:50).
Being revived by God’s word is a recurring theme in this Psalm, with the Hebrew word, ‘chayah,’ meaning to revive, nourish, restore to life, and give life to, being used 16 times in relation to God’s Word.
When it comes to the Bible, life is a verb! The promise of being revived—or ‘lifed’—through God’s Word kept me on track. There was obviously something in my devotional life I had missed.
3. Relate to the Bible the Way Jesus Does
The next breakthrough in my journey came when I had an idea to take a look at how Jesus responded to the Bible in the Gospels. Perhaps by studying His response to the Bible, I could see what I was missing.
Jesus knew the scriptures intimately and used His knowledge of them to teach others. But more than this—He lived them.
Jesus walked in perfect fulfillment of God’s Word. The Old Testament described every details of His life from birth to death, His character, His purpose and mission and His redeeming work on the cross.
As I considered Jesus’ response to the scriptures, it occurred to me that just as Jesus walked in fulfillment of God’s Word, so should I.
The Bible explains my origins, my value, my redemption, my call, and my destiny. The Bible is the story of me. And it’s your story, too.
I have known the scripture as a place of instruction, upbuilding, protection and power to live the Christian life. I have understood the Bible as the story of Jesus, the story of redemption, the story of Israel and the church.
But this simple revelation—that the Bible is the story of me—is the one that helped bring me back to life.
4. Reconnect Creatively With God’s Word
When my children were small and had been sick, they sometimes lost their appetite for food.
I would give them smaller portions of tasty food that would tempt them to eat, and help strengthen their appetites.
It is important, when we have lost our appetite for God’s Word, to provide ourselves with fresh inspiration, and new tools or methods to help us study.
Here is one tool that can be used for Bible study and journaling:
The SOAP journaling method
SOAP is an acronym:
To use this journaling style, read your portion of scripture—it may be a daily reading or a passage or book in the Bible you are currently studying
S = Choose a verse that has particularly spoken to you and write it in your journal
O = Note down your observation—what God is saying to you personally through the verse
A = Record how you can put what God is saying into practice in your life
P = Now write a brief prayer in response to what God has spoken to you
Over the next few days I will be using the SOAP method in my own journal and write my observations in the comments section of this post.
How Using Your Learning Style Can Revitalise Your Bible Study
Does Your Devotional Life Need Resuscitating?
8 Signs Your Devotional Life is Caught in a Performance Trap
Activate Your Prophetic Gift Through Prayer Journaling
© Helen Calder Enliven Publishing
22 thoughts on “When Your Devotional Life is Dry: How To Fall In Love With The Bible Again”
What great insight into rebuilding our devotional life. Mine has been so dry lately I feel I’m living in a desert but this sparks interest in my heart and I plan to put this into practice immediately. Thanks for sharing and not being timid about sharing your own trials.
Mary, thank you also for sharing your heart.
It sure helps to know that we are not alone, but that others also experience dry times.
The Lord says in Isa 43:20, ‘I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen.’
His desire is to bring us refreshing in the midst of our dryness, not when we’re out the other side of it. Don’t you love that about God? (I sure do)
DAY 1, SOAP JOURNALING:
In order to test SOAP, I’m using my ‘One Year Bible,’ which takes me through 4 chapters each day. My Feb 6 readings included passages from Exodus, Matthew and Psalms.
Without SOAP, I would be more inclined to scan these scriptures without them touching me personally (okay, I confess to being prone to that 🙂 )
A few verses in the readings that I felt God was speaking to me through leapt out at me quickly.
The SOAP process enabled me to focus on what the scripture meant in the context, as well as how it applies to me today. Then it encouraged me to personalise my response with a prayer at the end.
As a result, I have some challenging food for thought… convicting stuff and also a call to intimacy with God.
This method of journaling is surprisingly simple, and I love that it is centred in hearing God speak through the Bible.
This is one spot on piece of advice for me at the moment, as I realise it as a weakness for me. I hope to take soak up the scriptures and draw from them the ‘life’ that David speaks of.
That’s great, Michael.
I love your choice of words, ‘soaking up’ the scriptures. It’s a great picture of how it can be for us.
I didn’t feel like journaling today, but my accountability to the blog this week pushed me into it 🙂
Was glad I did, had such a WOW moment. The OT reading was in Exodus, about the construction of the tabernacle, and the bit that leapt out at me was the oil-fed lamps in the temple. The priests had to tend them so that they burned continuously. It reminded me of the story of the 10 bridesmaids who had to keep their lamps burning while waiting for the bridegroom. Five wise had oil to spare, but the five foolish ran out and missed the wedding (Matt 25:1-13).
When I turned to my NT reading, it was Matt 25! That was incredible, out of a whole year of readings that’s what it was. So glad the Spirit is speaking to me through God’s Word.
The application was the reminder to stay filled with the Spirit of God, and to enlarge my capacity so that I have a reserve-supply of His anointing in my life. Or simply—more of God!