Hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live.
The model for becoming physically healthy is more or less clear. Eat well—take in good nutrients, and avoid processed foods. And exercise—train your muscles and heart through regular activity. Of course, reality can be a little more complicated. And clear doesn’t always mean easy! But at least understanding the theory is a good start.
In today’s first reading (Deuteronomy 4:1), we see another sort of model. It’s a model for growing in spiritual health, built around reading the Scriptures. Here it is: “Hear . . . observe . . . live” (Deuteronomy 4:1). If we hear God’s word and observe God’s word, we will enjoy a richer spiritual life. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
First, there’s hearing God’s word.
There really isn’t a substitute for reading the Bible every day. Just as we aim to feed our bodies with solid, healthy food, the word of God is like a meal for our spirit.
It’s best to read prayerfully, too.
Ask the Holy Spirit to take the nutrients of God’s word and build you up from the inside out. As you read, it may help to ask, “How is this passage revealing the Lord to me?”
Then there’s observing God’s word—that means obeying it.
Ask yourself, “In the light of this passage, what could I change about my life?” Just pick one thing, and try to apply it. It could be something like forgiving someone who hurt you. Or saying one encouraging thing to your spouse each day. Perhaps for today, you might simply commit to reading the Bible for a few minutes every day. Little by little, you’ll be making changes; over time these will add up to become real transformation.
Finally, live—this is a promise of blessing.
It doesn’t mean you won’t face adversity or even sorrow. But it does mean that tough circumstances won’t be able to stifle the growth of your inner life. And it means that as you make those little steps in patience, humility, and love, your relationships will become healthier, including your relationship with the Lord.
Word Among Us