The Value of Research
As a writer, I fully understand the value of research and knowing my topic well. Regardless of length or type of work, research allows me to better know my writing topic. When I struggle at any point in a writing project, research always produces the breakthrough I need to move forward. This same approach plays a significant role in my faith walk too. Regardless of the struggle or challenge, seeking God’s will by digging into scripture always strengthens my faith.
I’m referring to going beyond daily devotions. I’m getting at digging into all the scripture related to the struggle or challenge and refusing to stop until your faith revitalizes. It may take several hours, days, or even longer, but the time spent won’t be in vain. If you refuse to quit and push through, you’ll come through the stronger because you’ll know God and his will better than ever before.
Steps for Digging In
Below are my basic steps specific to digging into scripture. Take them and make them your own!
- Make a list of related scripture and read through them. Make note of the ones that most connect with your struggle. I usually find them with the concordance in my Bible or by doing a Google search. If doing a Google search, only look at Scripture at this point. Stay away from any articles or commentaries. Just you and God for now.
- Write out the scripture that stood out to you. Don’t question why some click while others don’t. Just go with it. It’s the Holy Spirit working.
- Make bullet points for each scripture. Write down any thought or connection you make with the reference. No editing. Just record what comes to mind.
- Meditate on each verse. I often take walks or go for bike rides or even take a nap where I fall asleep thinking about a verse as it relates to my struggle or topic. Just spend time directing your thoughts toward the Scripture you’re studying.
- Read through the verse(s) and your notes again. Make note of additional thoughts and revelations.
- Pray using the verse(s) and your notes. Talk to God about what you’re studying. You may have more notes to take during this step.
- Listen for God to speak to you. Again, go for a walk or bike ride, but this time just listen for God’s whisper in your mind. Don’t make yourself think anything.
- Seek outside sources. Only do this after you’ve spent significant one-on-one time with God. These sources include commentaries, sermons, and articles about the verse(s) and topic you’re studying.
- Talk out what you’re studying. Again, only do this after lots of one-on-one time. Find a good listener and share what you’ve discovered. Then, let that person give you some input.
- Consider journaling. This works best if you do it throughout the process. I actually do these steps in my journal.
The key in this process lies with refusing to quit. Keep reading through the verses and keep meditating on them. Push through and continue digging in even if you don’t feel or hear anything at first. God will speak to you. Expect it to happen.
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)