Happy New Yearrrrr! It’s resolution time. Goal setters get to do their thing and make dreams come true as they crush goals. People who fell off wagons get up and get rolling for as long as they can hang on. Here we go again.
Some people have new goals written neatly in the goals section of your personalized planner when the ball drops. Others steer clear of the whole New Year’s resolution business because why even bother? Less than 4% of people actually stick to them anyway. Health goals, career goals, spiritual goals, physical goals, traveling, accomplishing…you name it and someone somewhere is aiming for it. I confess I’m actually on “team 96 percent” also known as the people who end up failing to stick to their New Year’s resolutions.
Wherever you fall in the goal spectrum I have one that if you dare to go after it, you literally can’t fail. So what is this failproof goal? GET A STRONGER GRIP ON THE BIBLE. The Navigators ministry has an incredible resource called “The Word Hand” which includes 5 methods of learning from the word: hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating.
I love a good podcast or sermon. Hearing from my pastor each week at church sharpens me. Romans 10:17 says “faith comes from HEARING, and hearing through the word of Christ.” It’s important to LISTEN to the word!! Imagine trying to pick up your bible using only your weakest finger, the pinkie. I dare you to try it. If your bible is small, then you might be able to make it happen but you can’t hold on to it very long. Similarly, we retain only five percent of what we hear. So if we are only hearing the word, our grip can only be so strong.
Reading the actual scriptures is a discipline. Whether you get it through a devotional or following a daily reading plan, it is how God speaks to us. We generally retain about 15 percent of what we read. SO if we are reading the word AND hearing it, our grip is more solid than hearing alone. Let’s say the ring finger represents reading the word. So now try to pick up your bible with your ring finger AND your pinkie! It’s a better grip but if somebody swatted at it, you’d drop it in a heartbeat.
When we study the word, it takes more commitment and effort than reading alone. In Acts 17:11 the Berean Jews were commended for “examining the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true.” Bible study can be done independently or with a group. Most people recall 35 percent of the things they study. Studying with a group provides an extra layer of accountability and sharpening (Proverbs 27:17.) It can be represented by the middle finger. You know the drill. Try picking up your bible with your middle, ring, and pinkie fingers. Stronger! But not FIRM.
Guess what? We remember 100% of what we memorize if we consistently review it.
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
The index finger is our strongest finger, and it represents scripture memory. This is a spiritual discipline that in order to do it… you just have to do it. Sing it. Write it on a note card. Find a friend with whom to memorize a verse a week, or a month. Tape it to your mirror. Just do it like Nike. Pick up your bible with all four fingers. That grip is the best yet.
To meditate means to think deeply or focus one's mind on something for a period of time. Our thumb naturally touches all four fingers and assists them in GRIPPING. This represents meditating!! We can meditate on what we hear, read, study, and memorize.
“but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:2-3
Using all five fingers to pick up a bible is the best way to have the strongest grip on the bible. Back to failproof goalsetting: whatever type of grip you currently have – or lack – you CAN NOT FAIL IF YOUR GOAL IS TO PURSUE A STRONGER GRIP:
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11
He will accomplish HIS purposes, in and through your life, if you get a grip on His word. THAT’S great news for a girl who has “always failed” at sticking to her resolutions!