The author of Hebrews speaks of the importance of growing being immaturity in the Christian faith and simply drinking “milk” (5:11-14). How does one partake of food rather than milk as he or she grows in faith? Contrary to the opinion of some, I believe it has to do more with what one studies on his own than what is taught in a worship service environment. I often hear accusations of people that certain preachers aren’t “deep” enough. What exactly do they mean? Often those who are characterized as “deep” speak in language that isn’t understandable by most people, they spend a lot of time looking at the mechanics of a particular book or letter, and they have little in the way of personal application – after all, the “deep” Christian should be able to discern his or her own way of putting truth into practice. The problem with such a philosophy is that the lay church attender is taught that he or she is incapable of comprehending Scripture without the help of a superior mind. Additionally, the average person doesn’t always know how to apply the Scripture and therefore walks away with nothing but the feeling that he or she is a little smarter than before.
The root of the word “disciple” is “discipline,” and the one who wants to grow as a disciple of Jesus has to be disciplined in his or her study of God’s Word. It has to be something person that is developed over years and years of practice. At the Middle School Camp I went to last week, we taught the kids how to SOAP Journal (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer). In essence, I’ve been SOAP Journaling on this blog for quite some time. First you read a portion Scripture and then find as many observations as you can. Then you find a point of application. When you’ve done so, spend some time in prayer, asking the Lord to help you apply it for the day. If you begin doing this you will find that you will grow spiritually, your relationship with God will be deepened, and Sunday sermons as well as extra-curricular Bible studies will make more sense. But it all comes down to what you’re willing to do on your own.