The most important advice I can give to help you mature in your use of spiritual gifts is to learn to love Scripture. I say learn to love because that’s what most of us must do: learn. Few of us have a natural love for Scripture. It’s a collection of books written across several centuries by many authors in several languages and very different cultural contexts. These factors alone make it challenging to read well.
Nevertheless, we must learn. God has breathed through this book in unique ways, making it a book like no other. If you are serious about getting to know God well, you’ll need this book. You can read Scripture in a variety of ways. You could read huge chunks of Scripture over a few days to understand God’s big story and where you fit in. Other times, you might study a theme, such as worship, love, or healing. Nowadays, there’s plenty of great resources available free on the Internet to help with this type of study. You could memorize Scripture, meditate on verses, sing Scriptures, read Scripture aloud, or use Scripture to frame your prayers.
Knowing Scripture well, of course, is also essential for weighing prophetic words. Even though God sometimes does unique and surprising things, he never does anything inconsistent with who he has revealed himself to be in Scripture. Furthermore, God will bring Scripture to your mind when you are livestreaming, so the more Scripture you know, the more Scripture the Spirit can bring to your mind during ministry.
If you haven’t made reading Scripture a priority, I encourage you not to get all guilt-ridden and immediately commit to reading the Bible for hours each day. That might work for one percent of people, but most will get discouraged, bored, and give up pretty quickly. When I wanted to run a 5K race, I didn’t just put my name down on the runners’ list and head for the starting line. I used one of the Couch to 5K apps to help me build up my stamina. In Week One, I ran for one minute and then walked for several minutes before running again. In Week Two, I extended my runs to ninety seconds and reduced my in-between walking periods to two minutes. In Week Three, I alternated between running for two minutes and walking for ninety seconds. Each week, I stretched a little further until I was ready for my first 5K.
Interestingly, after a few weeks, I accidentally repeated Week One. The first time I worked through Week One, I was breathless by the end. The second time, it didn’t challenge me at all. I’d built up some stamina.
If you haven’t read much Scripture, you’ll need to build up stamina in the same way as I had to build up endurance to run a 5K. Start small. Perhaps read a psalm one day and a section from one of the Gospels the next. Jot down what you learn and make a note of any questions you have. If any verse strikes you as particularly interesting or relevant, write that down, too, and perhaps use those words to frame your prayers that day.
When we make reading Scripture a priority, not to become know-it-alls, but to learn to love God well and serve others, it’s like we are putting down a great big welcome mat for the Holy Spirit, letting him know we’re ready for adventure.
Did you find this entry helpful? It’s an excerpt from Ivan Filby’s new book, Livestream: Learning to Minister in the Power of the Holy Spirit.
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