“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day…how sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” -Psalm 119:97,103
Take a second and think. In the past week, has there been a time when you can identify with these words? If not, chances are you are suffering from GSOI Syndrome (“Get Something Out of It” Syndrome). Let’s look at the symptoms:
When you have quiet time in Scripture, do you often feel the impulse to find a “nugget” or truth that you can glean from the passage?
Do you often feel bad when you don’t remember what you read in the morning?
Do you take copious notes during your quiet time?
Are you reluctant to stop your quiet time until you feel like you have gotten something out of it?
Has your quiet time become dull?
Do you have a hard time finding joy in the Scriptures?
Yep. The diagnosis is in. You’ve got “Get Something Out of It” Syndrome. Let’s consider a similar situation. If you are married, perhaps you can identify. Do you feel the need to remember every conversation you ever had with your wife? Do you feel empty if you can’t “get something out” of every interaction you have with her? Are all of your conversations and times with her spent on studying her attributes? Do you ever just…enjoy being with her? If not, maybe you should go talk to your pastor or a Christian friend. Hopefully your answer to these questions is “Of course not.” Why then would you treat your relationship with God differently?
Here are some of my suggestions. We don’t think about the fact that God meets us in his Word. We see the pages, and we read the words, but we don’t think about the fact that God spoke those words into existence so that he could speak not just at us, but with us. We look for mystical experiences with God perhaps in loud worship services or emotional camp experiences, but the vehicle of our relationship with God is the Bible.
We study the Bible all of the time. Do you ever set aside your feelings of obligation toward the Bible and just enjoy reading and being with God? There is a time and place for study, but don’t put so much pressure on your quiet time…allow yourself to enjoy it. Don’t feel like you have to remember everything you have read. You don’t remember every conversation you had with your wife, but you are shaped by those conversations and times more than you will ever realize. It’s the same way when we spend time in the Word. (If you want to be able to take God’s Word with you throughout the day, that’s where Scripture memorization can help–but that’s another post).
Have a conversation with God. Allow the Scriptures to speak to you first and direct your prayers. Don’t be afraid to stop in the middle of reading to pray over a verse that you treasure or find delight in. Praying portions of Scripture can revitalize your time with God.
Don’t let your time with God each day become a humdrum study session. You ought to be studying the Bible, but you have to have times where you just sit down and meet God in His Word. Give it a shot…don’t allow “Get Something Out of It” Syndrome get the best of you!