09 - How To Get the Most Out of This Book

Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
— 1 Tim 4:7-8

Remember that it takes self-discipline

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” – 2 Tim 1:7

Self-discipline is an investment and you have to be willing to make the sometimes painful deposit, before you can make a pleasant withdrawal.  No one likes brushing or flossing their teeth, but most people enjoy the idea of keeping them, so they discipline themselves each day to do so.  I beg you to develop the daily self-discipline of putting Jesus first.  If your discipline is motivated by love and a hunger for God, it will be handsomely rewarded.  Soon your discipline will no longer be the painful investment towards something you don’t yet possess, but rather the tireless protection of the treasure you have already attained.

Be faithful and patient

And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. – Heb 6:15

Do not get discouraged when things take longer than you think.  It takes a lot of time to really grow and mature in the Lord, but it's ok because we are not in a race.  Just keep trusting God and applying the words of Christ, and He will show up and do things that will amaze you!  If three years from now, you finally became the person you’ve always longed to be and finally had His indescribable presence, on a daily basis, would you complain because it took so long? Also, don’t quit and don’t lose sight of the fact that God’s measuring stick for your progress is held against what happens in your heart, not in your circumstances.

Limit your learning focus

“Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” - Mt 28:19

Think of the confusion placed on new or hungry believers today.  On Sunday morning they are told “this” is the area a “Christian” should be focusing on.  On the way home the teacher on the Christian radio says “this” is the key area to focus on.  That same afternoon they end up at a book store where a best-selling “Christian” author says, “this” is the secret to the victorious life.  We are told to focus on everything except what Jesus told us to focus on.  I encourage you to limit much of your focus to the teachings of Christ during your first 90 days.

Ask the Lord to open your spiritual eyes

“I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.” – Ps 119:125

Don’t just sit down and start reading.  Invest a few moments each day, asking the Lord to help you know, understand, and apply His words.  The Lord sees this as humble dependence on Him and He will honor that, giving you the grace to understand.

Don’t just read the words—meditate

“I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.”      – Ps 119:15

Don’t just read the teachings every day, but instead go on a treasure hunt.  See yourself as reclining next to the Lord, as “the one He loves” to whom He has special things to teach.  Don’t rely on my insights alone.  Ask God to show you the deep truth below His words—what it means and how He wants you to apply it in your life.  It can be exciting to learn a new truth from a man, but it’s exhilarating when the Spirit Himself teaches you. - 1 Jn 2:27

Use the survey and journal

Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else. – Gal 6:4

Re-visit the survey on page 8 every 90 days, so you can see your progress.  My own mother was overjoyed to go back months later and have a much higher score!  Also, be sure to record any initial insights or questions you have on the journal pages, as a track record of God’s Spirit teaching you.  I journal and I often praise God when I go back and re-read the insights He taught me, or the things He corrected me on.

Teach it to others

Whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. – Mt 5:19

Not only is it our responsibility to pass on the word of God to others, but we learn best that which we teach.  Why not start a weekly Bible study, using this devotional, maybe 6 teachings per week.  You will be amazed and greatly encouraged when you see how the simple teachings of Christ transform hearts and lives.  And, you too will be rewarded.