If you’re like most leaders, you hit seasons where your Bible-reading becomes dull. Or even nonexistent. Maybe it’s the extra pressure at work, a family illness, or the haphazard schedule of summertime or holidays. While these times are inevitable, our lapse in reading the Word doesn’t have to be long-term. We can choose – right in the midst of an intense season – to pick up our Sword, wrap our hands around it, and feel and wield its weightiness.
A while back my husband and I took a vacation that was filled with fun on the water, festivities with people, and fire-grilled meals. It was a blast. But I allowed all the activities to squeeze out my time in the Word. I came home spent, a bit out of sorts, and eager to resume my interactions with God.
Next vacation, wanting to stay close to God, I decided to explore Psalm 119. I was surprised at what I found. Far from an academic recitation of various words for Scripture – precepts, laws, statutes, etc. – it’s actually a heartfelt, action-packed portrayal of the life-giving nature of God’s Word. It’s filled with passionate verbs – I counted 44 – that describe our response to the Word. Here are a few nuggets I’m holding onto:
1) Pick it up. This is perhaps the easiest and hardest thing to do – actually pick up your Bible and read it. Psalm 119 encourages us to do this through verbs like: incline my heart, seek, choose, and cling. These verbs imply pursuing something of great value. There is inestimable value in simply making the choice to read God’s Word.
2) Get familiar with it. Military personnel spend hours getting acquainted with every aspect of their weapon. Handling, loading, firing, cleaning, and polishing it become second nature. Psalm 119 exhorts us to fix our eyes on, meditate on, understand, and store up the Word. When we do, it becomes a natural part of our thoughts and actions.
3) Use it. Hebrews 4:12 describes the Bible as “alive and active... sharper than any double-edged sword.” It’s also the truth that sets us free (John 8:32). It’s a powerful weapon! The most frequently used verb in Psalm 119 is “keep.” When we keep, obey, and utilize the Word of God, it cuts through hindrances and we experience freedom in our lives. Psalm 119:93 says, “I will never forget your precepts, for by them You have given me life.”
4) Share it. “A well-spoken word at just the right moment is like golden apples in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11, The Voice). We’ve all given and received well-timed words of Scripture and reaped the benefits. Psalm 119 urges us to speak, declare, and even sing God’s Word. When we’re steeped in it, we’re able to recall it and share it with others in Spirit-led, uplifting ways.
5) Treasure it. The writer of Psalm 119 loved spending time with God in His Word, using verbs like: delight, rejoice, and stand in awe of. He describes it as being “firmly fixed in the heavens” and through it he experienced God’s faithfulness, which “endures to all generations” (Ps. 119:89-90). When we treasure God’s Word, it becomes the bedrock of our lives. And whatever the season, we can experience God’s never-ending faithfulness anchoring our souls.
In the natural realm, swords get dull with use. But it’s the opposite with the Sword of the Spirit. Hebrews 5:12-14 describes how mature believers become wise by constantly using the Word of God in their lives. Every leader needs a sharp Sword.
"Physical swords get dull with use. It’s the opposite with the Sword of the Spirit."- Lisa Hosler
A good friend of mine grabbed his Bible as he headed off to a committee meeting. I gave him a quizzical look and he said, “I take my Sword with me everywhere.” His statement gripped my heart, and I’ve adopted his habit. It’s a rare day at work when I don’t need my Bible.
“Father, You’ve given us Your truth, Your love, a window into Your character, and principles to live by through the powerful treasure-trove of Your Word. Help us to value it like the writer of Psalm 119 does and in the way You’ve designed.” (Todd, you can decide if this prayer looks better with italics or not.)
How do you keep God’s Word alive and active in your life as a leader, especially when you’re overloaded? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.