Ezer Equipped: Nourishing Our Faith
Topics: Ezer Equipped
Over the next few months, we will focus on Nourishing our Faith—beginning with a look at how our faith is strengthened by Scripture. We are commanded in Scripture to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). Just as a newborn needs milk to grow, we need spiritual milk to keep growing in faith. Milk is used in the book of Hebrews as a symbol for God's Word as basic nutrition for the Christian life. We need the Word of God to keep growing in faith. We will only grow as much as we purposefully read, obey, and apply the Word to our life.
Several months ago, I was struggling with fear and doubt. My husband and I were on a trip and we needed to take Covid tests to get back. Immediately my thoughts went to the worst case scenario: "Mine is going to be positive and then I'll have to quarantine and not get to see my kids for another two weeks, my mom will have to extend her visit, and I’ll be left alone in a strange place!" And then Psalm 27:1 came to my mind: "The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?" I had been reading, studying and meditating on this psalm for a while now, and when I needed it the most, it popped in my head. His Word became alive in me, giving me strength and helping my fearful mind and doubtful heart get anchored in the truth. My faith was strengthened by Scripture.
Are we spending time reading and studying God's Word? Are we genuinely living out our faith by applying Scripture to our daily lives? Is our view of God distorted—shaped by our experiences or the cultural moment rather than what he says about himself? At times, I don't make reading the Bible a priority, and sometimes I don't know what to read or what it means, much less how it applies to me! I forget that reading Scripture is how I get to know God. Scripture gives me clarity, like I needed on our trip. It's like putting on glasses, filtering my sight through his truth and discerning my own responses so I can grow in awareness of sin, pride, selfishness, and hypocrisy. But it also reminds me that even when I sin, his posture toward me is one of love and care.
I needed those reminders that day as I was worried about not being able to get home. The Scripture that he brought to mind was a lifeline that tethered me to truth and helped me trust him in that moment. God’s Word is fuel for our relationship with him. It transforms and renews our minds as we apply it to our lives.
Just as babies eventually need solid food to keep growing healthy and strong, we also need solid food after drinking milk. We are called to maturity and to keep growing our faith (Hebrews 5:12). Sometimes the reason we are not growing is because the spiritual food we are consuming is milk rather than meat! ! The writer of Hebrews is concerned that this steady diet of milk is making the believers dull and indifferent to the gospel. Building rhythms and habits into our lives that incorporate Scripture will help our faith grow and lead us to maturity.
We don't need to go to seminary to learn to study Scripture. Each of us can become a student of the Word. Sometimes we are tempted to make it so complicated that we just avoid it all together. This month, we are going to introduce you to a simple tool that can help you engage with God’s Word in a meaningful way. As we learn to read and dig deeper, my prayer for you this month is that you would, " Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness" (Colossians 2:7).
For The Ezer Women’s Discipleship Team
Scripture helps us grow in the grace and knowledge of God. The passages below help us reflect on the importance of God’s Word and how it helps us mature in our faith. What stands out to you as you read each one?
Paul is imprisoned in Rome and he uses his last words to encourage Timothy, and all other believers, to persevere in faith.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
Peter wrote these letters to the believers who were scattered abroad and living as foreigners. He called them to live holy lives in response to what Christ had done for them and encouraged them to keep growing in their faith in spite of what they were enduring.
Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
Peter begins this letter with a prayer that God would give them more grace and peace as they grow in the knowledge of God. He then goes on to remind them of specific promises that they can rely on and encourages them to become more mature in their faith by adding specific Christ-like virtues.
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The writer of Hebrews encourages the believers to grow in their faith, to move on to solid food (maturity) after drinking milk.
For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.
Matt Rogers is the teaching pastor at The Church at Cherrydale in Greenville, SC. His church has developed a tool to help people study the Bible. The seven arrows are seven questions designed to help people read and understand Scripture. Watch the video to learn more about the seven arrows tool. Pick up a Seven Arrows bookmark at your campus for easy reference. It may be too much to answer all the questions at one time, so don’t be afraid to simplify this and make it work for you.
We encourage you to use these conversation starters as a means of self-reflection and for discussion within your community.
- As you think back over the past few years, how have you interacted with Scripture? What role has it played in your life?
- What are some obstacles that keep you from reading Scripture regularly? It might be time, lack of motivation, or not knowing where to start. Or, it might be that your spiritual diet is heavy on devotionals or podcasts, but light on Scripture. How can you create space to spend time regularly in God's Word? What needs to change?
- How would you describe your current spiritual diet and the content you consume? Is it strengthening your faith and producing spiritual fruit? Would you characterize it as meat or milk?
- How is your idea of what you “think” your time in the Word needs to look like actually keeping you from engaging with Scripture? Sometimes we overcomplicate things, and when we can’t meet our own expectations, we just avoid doing it altogether! How can you adjust your expectations and simplify time in the Word so that it is a doable spiritual practice for you?
Scripture warns us not to be just hearers of the Word but to be doers of it as well. All of life is repentance. What is a believable next step God is calling you to take in response to all you’ve learned? Pick one or two of the below steps to take.
- Watch the Seven Arrows Videos and pick up a Seven Arrow Bookmark at your campus or download one here. Even answering just a few of these questions as you read a passage will be meaningful. You could use it with one of the passages from our Read section or the passages used in our current sermon series on Acts.
These are the seven questions:
- What does this passage say?
- What did this passage mean to its original audience?
- What does this passage tell us about God?
- What does this passage tell us about man?
- What does this passage demand of me?
- How does this passage change the way I relate to people?
- How does this passage prompt me to pray to God?
2. It doesn’t matter whether you read a small passage of Scripture over and over again throughout the week, a book of the Bible, or follow a reading plan. Just start somewhere and be as consistent as you can. Listen to it while you are getting ready in the morning, driving to work, or prepping meals. Read it in snippets throughout the day. The way in which you engage Scripture does not need to be instagram-worthy. Keep it simple and see what God does!
3. The Ezer Ministry created a bookmark with 5 questions that can help you study the Scriptures. As you read a passage, ask yourself these questions to help you deepen your understanding of the text. You can download a bookmark here.
- What does this passage reveal about God?
- What does this passage reveal about humanity?
- What does this passage say about sin?
- What does this passage reveal about God's plan of redemption?
- How should I respond in light of what I have just read?
For Further Study:
The Bible in a Year: A Guided Scripture Reading Journey for Women, is a new resource by Kandi Gallaty that takes you through key passages in the scriptures. It is a 5 day a week reading plan that allows you to respond to simple questions about each passage.
The Bible Recap is a reading plan on the Bible app that is accompanied by a 5 minute podcast which summarizes and explains the daily reading. They also have a print version for those who prefer a book with daily readings that include the recap and journal prompts for each day.
Women of the Word, by Jen Wilkin equips you to engage God’s word in a way that trains your mind and transforms your heart. You can also check out these three short videos where she describes a helpful approach to our individual time in the scriptures.