I recently began the Prayer Bible reading plan (YouVersion) with #SheReadsTruth. (And by “recently”, I mean yesterday) Have you heard of this? I learned about it at the beginning of July. Some girls wanted a better way to hold each other accountable to daily Bible reading and then decided to open it up to as many women as were interested. Currently, I’m behind but they pick a daily study to do and women can comment about what they are learning or questions they have about the text.
I’ve already been doing my own Bible reading plan that I intend to keep going with but lately I’ve been contemplating the question of how to engage my heart and soul into my worship of Jesus. I know that I often (pretty much every day) give my heart over to something else, making my love for Jesus feel disingenuous. How can I say I love him when it’s not with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength? I believe this is a daily battle we all must fight. I think there is something I can learn from not only the small reading snippets each day to propel me into a deeper time with Jesus but also from the other women who are trying to do the same.
Today I read Nehemiah 1:11 where he is praying for mercy and success before he talks to the King of Persia about returning to Judah.
11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Now I was cupbearer to the king.
What jumped out at me was when Nehemiah refers to himself as a servant who delights to fear God’s name. Wow. What does that mean? Can I be one of those? Please? As I meditated on what it means to delight in fearing the Lord, I was struck by an old concept that I am repeatedly reminded of lately — one I fail to embody. To fear the name of the Lord is to actually put God in his rightful place.
People (including myself) talk about “fear of man” often referring to the sin of idolizing the thoughts and opinions of others. Doing this attempts to demote God because we set aside the reality of our identity in him and behave as if it isn’t enough — as if we need to be approved by people in order to be happy/successful/valuable.
So delighting to fear God implies that not only is God in his proper place — the highest place as the One and Only God — but we actually rejoice in that placement. If Nehemiah is claiming this description of his own heart before God, I’m inclined to believe it was true of him. So it was present in him — in his heart, soul, and mind maybe?
Often times when I get to the application part of reading Scripture, I jump straight to “what do I need to do?” rather than taking the time to allow Scripture to readjust the view I have of God. As I’ve been thinking through the command God gives to love him with all our heart, soul, and mind I’ve come up against this time and time again. I have to let Scripture give me a bigger picture of God first. How can I learn to worship God with my whole being if I’m just looking for my own gain in the book that tells me who God is? If I want to “delight” in the Lord and his place in my life, I need to also delight in making myself less and less so I see God rightly. I think this also means really meditating on how I am always going to be little more than a “mistake-maker” (Eric comes up with the best descriptors) on my own. But through my union with Christ, I get to be filled with his power and his Spirit. Which completely changes everything. The more I rely on my own strength, the more I will be clouded in my understanding of who God is. And the reverse is true — relying on that which comes through my union with Christ will lead to a deeper understanding of the love of God (and the rest of his awesome character). (Ephesians 3:14-21).
I’m a Scripture memory failure and currently working to strengthen this discipline. This Ephesians passage (which I’ve been meaning to memorize for a long time) is now at the top of my list.