3 [More] Ways To Sharpen Your Sword

After a four year hiatus, a former January staple finds its ‘Part 2‘; for more context, check out the pod above and ‘Part 1’ below…

Part 1: https://hisgirlfryday.com/2018/01/26/3-ways-to-sharpen-your-sword/

Otherwise, get ready, get set…it’s the first post of 2022…

1. Don’t force the reset.

Often, when we start a new year, we’re quick to go into ‘reset’ mode. Without hesitation, we launch into the dream of a ‘better us’ laced with new habits and self-improvements…all in the spirit of grabbing time and hope by the horns. 

However, when it comes to discerning God through His Word, we must remember there’s no rush on God’s end for us to reach the ceiling of our understanding. While Bible reading plans are beneficial to any spiritual walk, to jumpstart your quiet time, always start with humility, gratitude, and prayerful intentionality. Rather than assume a strategy, ask the Lord how He desires to guide you in Spirit and Truth through His Word. Once confirmed, determine a game-plan to not only keep you anchored to the Spirit’s leading, but also on guard against the attacks and schemes of the enemy.

Consider this: As I’ve applied these practices in recent weeks, I’ve sensed the Lord stir ‘encounter’ in my heart…in the context of embracing Him through the Gospels. Inquiring further, I’ve realized how God doesn’t want me to map out my entire Scriptural journey upfront but take a staggered, ‘wait and see’ approach. I know last year, prior to the Juby saga, I hit a decent stride engaging my Bible app for 100 straight days. Yet, for this year, God has made it clear He wants my attention on encountering Him as opposed to targeting numerical affirmation. For now, I will read through the Gospels capturing revelations on Jesus’ restorative power and creative miracles. From there, I will reassess the journey and proceed at His prompting.

Bible verse: “God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.” ~ Lamentations 3:25-26 (MSG)

Bottom line: Don’t perceive God’s discovery package for you in 2022 arbitrarily. Before diving in, seek and be still. Take inventory of pressure points and though you have an invitation into His courts, dare to knock on the door of God’s heart before entering.

2. Integrate community and conversation.

Once you have a divinely inspired plan of action, your next challenge, should you choose to accept, is to de-silo your insights. Although intimacy may start in the closest spaces of our hearts, ultimately, we were intended to share the unique angles of God’s outpouring within community. While this doesn’t mean we convey every download, for starters, it doesn’t hurt to ask yourself…

How does God want me to take our conversations to my neighbors, local church, the towns in which I do business, even the nations?’

Once you have direction, by all means, journal your thoughts and record the vision ala Habakkuk 2:2; just don’t limit the manifestations of your devotions to the notepad. After all, there’s way more in store with how God wants to illuminate your heart in 2022.

Consider this: Apart from corporate fellowship, make it a point to meet with friends and mentors in 2022. During your gatherings, be transparent about what God is teaching you without an agenda to trumpet your voice or force awakenings. If the dialogue lends itself, unveil the fruit of your quiet times organically; if not, remember you can still be a valued support system as you selflessly offer encouragement to the situation. Regardless of the circumstances, take heart:

To the extent you engage God through prayer and the Scriptures, to that extent you’ll be able to assess potential needs through love. The more you commit to this spiritual discipline through quiet time, the more you’ll see the impacts in real-time.

Bible verse: “Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part…gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:13-14 (MSG)

Bottom line: While much Bible reading is done solo-style, this doesn’t imply silo-style.

Accordingly, instead of isolating your intimacy with God, consider how He’s grooming you to be a mouthpiece for His power and presence. For as you know, where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is (Matthew 18:20)…and where He is is the ultimate edge on any spiritual battlefield.

Bonus thought: While quiet times allow God to train us in secret, for the point and purpose of those trainings to be realized, we must accept their place in the context of unity in community.

3. Pray and declare the Word.

So far, we’ve established how quiet time is not confined to individual study but is maximized in Spirit and Truth. While there’s not a one-size fit-all solution to channeling truth by the Spirit, one of the best ways to know the Word is to pray and declare it.

As Colossians 4:2 reminds us, if we’re to continue with anything, let it be prayer fused with thanksgiving. Even though we may suffer and enter in with fear and trembling, as Jesus did during his ministry, we can proclaim the goodness of God in reverence (Hebrews 5:7). Despite the adversity we may be dealing with, we can fire up faith and ignite our hope by testifying who God is constantly. In this way, we can use God’s Word as lamp unto our feet to center our perspective on what is everlasting and scale our perception of present trouble.

Consider this: As you read and examine the Word, be prepared to stop. Set your expectations on God’s faithfulness to convict and respond. Per your pauses, affirm God’s truth through praise and profess the reality of His love into your midst.

Bible verse: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” ~ 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)

Bottom line: One of the best ways to declare God’s sovereignty into any situation is through prayer and exhortation. The more you cultivate this strength into your quiet time, the more you will be able to prophetically encourage the people God has placed in your life for such a time as this.

Take it from my friend, Schmidt…

Selah.

Cover photo creds: Cathy McIntosh

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