May 2nd Devotion

From Discipline to Delight: Learning to Love God’s Word
By Rachael Adams

"So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).

I didn’t start going to church until I was a preteen. During one of the first church services I attended, I remember watching the people in the congregation worship, pray, and belt out an occasional amen. I was fascinated by these activities, but I was also perplexed, even a little uncomfortable.

Not long after, I visited a women’s Bible study. I observed and listened in bewilderment at what sounded like a foreign language. I didn’t understand the Christian terms that seemed so familiar to everyone else in attendance. My lack of comprehension was evidenced by my failure to complete the study. Years later, I found that Bible study booklet in my bookcase. Flipping through its pages, I discovered the preteen me had only completed two of the days.

Looking back, I see how patient God was with me. He slowly gave me opportunities to get to know Him as I was ready. I went to Vacation Bible Schools, youth groups, and Sunday morning services, but I don’t recall ever reading His Word regularly on my own until I had my son. Having a child jolted me awake from my spiritual slumber. I wanted to be a good steward of what God had entrusted to me. So, in the quiet of my newborn’s nursery, while rocking him to sleep, I began to have my first consistent quiet times with the Lord. I came before the Lord as a spiritual infant, opening my heart to Him as I opened the pages of His Word. As I did, it was as if He sat cradling and rocking me in His loving arms, just as I cradled my son.

Around this time, a friend invited me to a Bible study. I hadn’t attended a group study since the one I attempted as a preteen, but, even though I still had to look at the table of contents to find each book of the Bible, I finished the study this time. Being surrounded by a community of women who could answer my questions and with whom I could discuss God’s Word was exactly what I needed.

Eventually, our women’s Bible study group began attending Christian women’s conferences. In stadiums and arenas, I sat (and sometimes stood) overcome with emotion and in awe of the Lord. I was still fascinated, but I was no longer perplexed because I had now experienced God’s presence for myself. The passion of the worship teams and speakers was contagious. I was inspired by the way they could quote Scripture and recall passages of the Bible with such confident assurance. I wanted what they had.

On the way home from one of these conferences, a friend of mine and I were talking about how, while we enjoyed and valued reading about and listening to other people’s encounters with the Lord, we wanted to get to know Him for ourselves, not just through the secondhand accounts we had received up to that point. With this realization, my friend and I decided to read only the Bible for the following year.

So, each morning of the next year, I gathered my Bible, notebook, pen, and cup of coffee, and I sat with my Savior. To be honest, there were times when it was more of a discipline than a desire. Some days, I would sit dumbfounded, unsure how portions of the Scriptures applied to me. Other days, I would sit astounded at how every word seemed to be written just for me and my current situation. Over time, my motive shifted. Reading the Bible became less about how it pertained to me and more about getting to know God. Without fail, when I would show up, He would show up within those black, white, and sometimes red-lettered pages. Whether I needed hope, encouragement, or correction, I received my daily bread (Matthew 6:11). Slowly but surely, what began as a religious ritual became a relationship.

In our earthly relationships, the more time we spend with someone, the closer we feel to them. On the other hand, if we go days or even years without conversation or seeing them, they begin to feel distant. We drift away emotionally and don’t feel as connected as we once did. The same is true of the Lord. It takes intention and effort on our part to open the pages of His Word, but I have discovered that when I make being present with Him a priority, His presence is evident to me throughout the rest of my day. His words enter my mind when I need reminding, guiding, or correcting. His Word has never returned void (Isaiah 55:11).

Now, not only do I want to spend time with Him, I want to become more like Him. Because, truthfully, the Bible isn’t just about receiving information—it is for our transformation. While we want to increase our knowledge of Him, the true purpose is to apply what we learn—to not only be hearers of the Word but doers of the Word, so that others may come to know, love, and seek to be like Him too.
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