I’ve talked a few times here about the important of spiritual disciplines as a means of binding ourselves to God. In my mind I picture each discipline I choose, each act of obedience, as a little stitch that is sewing me more tightly to my Savior. If I limit myself to one stitch per week– Sunday morning church, for example, or a weekly Bible study– I am leaving days in a row without even one little stitch, and I cannot help but sag away from the heart of God. Drawing near to God is a daily conscious decision, one that must be made one little choice at a time.
I believe that there are some spiritual disciplines that God calls some of us to but not others. For me, eating properly is more than a physical discipline; it is a spiritual one, because I have learned over the past few years that if I fail to eat properly I find myself very far from God. Each food choice, each calorie counted, is a tiny little stitch that binds me more closely to God in dependent relationship. That might sound crazy to you. But for me, food is a major issue that quickly gets control over my life. I expect that you have areas of your life that are similar– areas that so quickly gain control of your heart that they drive you far from God in what seems like the blink of an eye. God very well may call you to stricter discipline in that area than He calls another. In my experience, fighting against God’s calling leads nowhere, but submitting to God’s leading in this area is the way to deepen your walk with God beyond anything you may think is possible.
But that’s not really the point of this blog post. The point of this blog post is that I would like to share, over a series of posts, a few of the spiritual disciplines that God has led me to over the last few years that have made a huge difference in my walk with Him. These are not things that I do to gain God’s favor, because He has already poured that out on me beyond measure. These are things I do that act as little daily stitches in my life, binding me close to the God of the universe, my Creator, my Savior who gave His life for me. I am so prone to wander, but as I daily choose to tie myself more closely to God it becomes harder to get very far away before I am drawn up short by the disciplines I have set up.
Yesterday I mentioned transcription in my blog post. If you didn’t read it, since I forgot to put it on Facebook, you can here. It has pictures of my children in it as well as a few funny things Pooka has said recently, so it’s totally worth the time. 😉 Anyway, transcription is simply copying Scripture. I fell into this quite accidentally several years ago, when God was first beginning to lead me into a daily, consistent time with Him. I started in Psalms, and it took more than a year for me to copy all 150 chapters. But by the time I had finished, I had fallen in love with the simple act of writing God’s Words down in my journal.
I know some people do this in special notebooks, but I’m a keep-it-simple-stupid kind of girl, and I can’t have too many notebooks in my life or I get overwhelmed. I have one journal for everything– Bible study, sermon notes, prayer, and transcription. It’s a huge jumble of my walk with Jesus, which is pretty much exactly what my walk with Jesus is, so I’m okay with that. In truth, I love having everything in there all together, because it helps me see the really amazing ways God uses what looks like chance and seemingly unrelated disciplines to teach me. You would be amazed how many times the passage I’m transcribing, the passage I’m studying for Bible study, and the Psalm I am using to guide my time of adoration all line up to teach me the same thing. This is God’s Holy Hammer of Conviction and it’s a good thing. 🙂
Right now I am transcribing Matthew and it has been such a blessing. I am nearly to the end of it, and I’ll have to make a decision about what to copy next. That’s always the hardest thing! But God generally leads me pretty clearly. Matthew has been hugely convicting as I copied the beautiful words of the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ strong warnings to the religious leaders. Writing out the story of His death on the cross was terrible and beautiful and such a convicting reminder of the price paid for my salvation.
What I love about transcription is that it’s just me and God’s Word. I generally use Bible study books as I study the Bible, to guide me and ask questions I might not think to ask, but transcribing a passage forces me to slow down through familiar passages and really think about what they mean, enjoy their beauty, and let the Spirit speak to me about sin in my life. God’s Word is so powerful. When I limit myself to Bible study books there is a tendency to never really just expose myself to Scripture alone, to look straight into the mirror of the Word and let God show me what He wants me to see. Transcribing passages is one way that I have found that places me in front of that mirror and really slows me down to look at what is in there.
If you’re interested in giving transcription a try, I recommend starting with a smaller book than Psalms! Paul’s books of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians are amazing, shorter books full of really good stuff. 1 Peter is also a favorite of mine. And the book of Ruth in the Old Testament is a beautiful love story of redemption. If you want to start with a Gospel, Mark is the shortest one with just 17 chapters. Often when I am ready to transition to a new book, I pay attention to passages that keep popping up around me, or even what my husband is preaching. Sometimes God clearly leads me into a new book that way.
Don’t wait for it to be perfect– the perfect notebook, perfect translation, perfect pen, perfect time. Just get started. Who knows what amazing things God has for you as you linger over His good Word? Let every word you copy be a stitch that binds your heart to the heart of Your Maker, the great and holy God of the universe.
Oh God, bind our wandering hearts!