But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matthew 6:17-18 NASB)
Here is one that might not be obvious, but it is so powerful.
Daniel was one of God favorites.
In Daniel Chapter 9 he records an amazing prayer and the response he received.
So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.
And he gave me instruction and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.” (Daniel 9:3,22-23 NASB)
I highly recommend you read the whole text. Daniel 9 - Blue Letter Bible
Two things strike me about this.
First, notice the intensity with which he is pursuing his request. This was no throw away prayer. He was pressing in with everything he had to obtain his answer.
Daniel was seeking God for one thing with massive intensity.
So what was the object of all this passion? This blows my mind. He is not praying for a loved one’s (or even his own) healing from some life threatening disease. He is not praying for help with some financial crisis. He is not praying for the right political regime to take office.
Get this now – He was reading the prophecies of Jeremiah, and he wanted to make sure he had it right. He wanted to make sure he was not misunderstanding what he was reading. He was looking for how this passage should impact how he was living.
He did not just accept the common understanding of the passage from the main stream. He pressed in to hear what the heart of the Father would speak directly to his heart.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting you go out and create your own pet doctrines. But sometimes a verse jumps off the page at you – doesn’t it?
When it does, you need to be diligent and gain understanding that will impact your life.
When God calls your attention to a passage, you need to seek His face and learn from Him where He wants to apply it IN YOUR LIFE.
If the Word of God is not changing your life, you must change that.
Let me bring 2 more scriptures into this conversation.
Solomon said (and I love the old KJV for this one)
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7 KJV)
I might recommend all of Proverbs 4 here.
Solomon – the wisest man of all times - tells you with every ounce of “get” in you, you must get understanding. Don’t be satisfied if it is not making a change in your life.
The final text I want to bring to the table today is from James.
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. (James 1:22 NASB)
When you hear the word, and do not find its intersection with your life, no transformation is possible. [Tweet This] You become deluded into believing that by simply reading the Word you are justified.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
So then when God puts a passage on your heart, you might consider skipping a meal or two and pressing in for understanding. He promises that if anyone asks for wisdom, He will gladly supply it.