The word “relationship” is one of the most important words in the English language, as it applies to Christianity. Most of us intuitively know this as we have witnessed God working first hand in our lives. We know it, too, when we read of others in the Bible who gave testimony of the impact spiritual encounters with God had on their lives. We find one of these, almost poetically stated in Luke 2:19, “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” From Mary’s example, we learn three ways to keep the things of God actively and passionately working in our personal lives.

Mary’s memory was involved. It says, “Mary kept all these things.” Look back and meditate on the ways God has assured you of His presence and power. Our past experiences are relationally God-based. He has revealed Himself to you in times past and it is vital that what you read in His Word is connected to your past walking in the Spirit. Think back when you were keenly aware of Him. Let your memory treasure up things about God that you have come to know. Simply said, memory is all about remembering. It is important or we wouldn’t have words like “This do in remembrance of Me.” Use your memory to find God.

Mary’s affections were involved. We see that she kept these things “in her heart.” It should touch your heart when you read and study the Bible. The less you study His Word, the less likely it will have emotional significance to you. It takes time to do more than simply read and heed the words of Scripture; time well spent will make it personal to you. This is the fruit of the Holy Spirit working in you, i.e. love, joy, peace, etc.

Mary’s intellect was involved. We read the words “pondered them,” meaning she rationally processed them. If we are not careful, we will clinically read our Bibles and fail to see God at work both in the past and in the present. Meditate. Stop and consider. Think and think some more. Work it out with God-given wisdom, discernment, and perception. God gave you those intellectual abilities; now use them to deepen your love for Him.

Nearly 30 years ago, J. Vernon McGee said, “In my opinion the greatest sin in the church of Jesus Christ in this generation is ignorance of the Word of God. Many times I have heard a church officer say, ‘Well, I don’t know much about the Bible, but …’ and then he gives his opinion, which often actually contradicts the Word of God! Why doesn’t he know much about the Bible? … God wants you to know His Word. As an officer of the church are you boasting that you are ignorant of the Word of God? Well, you had better get down to business and find out what God has said to you in His Word. Ignorance of the Bible is the greatest sin of the hour—in and out of the church.”

If that was true then, how much more so is it true now? Do you enjoy participating in Bible studies? Why? Is it for the milk of fellowship or for the meat of God’s Word? We all need to be warned that milk can keep us from the meat of spiritual growth. The Adult Bible Study at our church is most definitely meaty. Perhaps we need to slow down and more carefully consider Luke 2:19:

“But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

This is what Jesus meant when He told us to ABIDE in Him. If you cannot comprehend it, then let your affections apprehend it. This is the kind of challenge that only serves to make Jesus Christ more real to us. Don’t stop at the surface. Go a little deeper and find, as the Bereans did, that the things you do not fully understand are worth searching:

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” – Acts 17:11