Scripture is so good, right? It helps us to grow closer to God through the wisdom poured out on the pages. It also helps us see how tender God is and how much He wants us to live in His freedom and His love.
I felt inspired to share the Scriptures that have helped me grow closer to God. While these are just a few, I wanted to share them with you in hopes they encourage you today.
I love when I periodically come across some of my favorite Scriptures. It may happen through a sermon or on Pinterest, but when I’m surprised by some of my favorites, it’s like visiting with an old friend. Such warmth and joy!
The Scriptures have propelled me forward into a deeper relationship with my Lord. Sometimes they were confusing, other times very hard, but always very good.
God has done a lot in my life through these particular verses, and I could literally write a whole blog post on each verse I choose…perhaps that is for a different day.
But for now, I simply give you some of my faves and hopefully they help you grow closer to Jesus.
Luke 22:42-44 (NIV)
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
This is a recent beloved verse of mine. It drew me into a closeness with Jesus like I had never experienced before. This was my grounding Scripture this past summer when I was facing the highest probability that my unborn daughter would die either in utero or immediately after birth. I couldn’t help to feel connected to Jesus’ suffering, as He prepared for Calvary, I prepared for my baby daughter to be born without lungs. I couldn’t imagine going through labor and then to hold her as she died. I sought for a way to endure what I was about to face, and God led me to this Scripture. I prayed not only for the life of my daughter Lucy, but I prayed openhanded with the exact phrase from this Scripture not my will, but yours. I also prepared for the future delivery by asking for just what Jesus received on that night, which was strengthening from angels.
I’m not sure how I ever missed that detail in this Scripture before, but it profoundly hit me. Isn’t that funny how God works, He opens your eyes to something right in front of your face at the perfect time. This Scripture was an unbelievable blessing to my walk with God and traversing the storm of the past year for me. I’m overjoyed to share that Lucy did live, she was born with lungs, and even though she has a lot of medical needs, she is healthy and at home with us! Praise be to God!
Hosea 6:3 (NLT)
Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”
I have loved this verse since I was a teenager. It fills my lungs with hope and my heart with joy. The first verse of this chapter in Hosea says “Come let us return to the Lord.” It has always spoken profoundly to me, for it is us who wander away, but he is always with us, so let us press on to know Him. He will provide us with everything we need!
Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
I cannot express how true this illustration is, for it has been a foundation in my life and my ministry. A lot of our upcoming book speaks to this Godly wisdom. Growing close to God is building your house on a firm ground. Keep seeking Him, and your foundation will keep getting stronger and stronger!
2 Corinthians 4:7-11 (NIV)
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
A good friend sent this to Aaron and me when we were working diligently to share God’s truth in a new ministry pursuit. It was the perfect timing as it helped us realize that it is God who is with us, strengthening us no matter what others may do to us. Understanding who it is that is with you, can drastically alter your reality!
Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23 (NIV)
Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
I love this parable, easily my favorite next to the Prodigal Son. I think this beautiful illustrates how fickle our walk with God can be. It takes much determination to stay planted in God, for there are lots of distractions and things that will impede growth. Just because we are a Christian today, doesn’t mean we will be a Christian tomorrow or all of our life. We must work at it, or we may too fall away.
John 17 (NIV)
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
I was on a youth mission trip several years ago, when this Scripture was impressed upon me. It spoke to my need for perseverance and how my strength came from the Lord. That if I stayed close to Him, I would be provided with energy and vitality.
James 1:2-4 (NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
An oxymoron of a Scripture that left me baffled for years. I just could never understand how suffering should be view as joy. It took me a long time to grow into this wisdom, and I am so thankful to God that I did. Understanding suffering has been a lifelong pursuit of mine and actually, this Scripture occupies a whole section of our upcoming book.
John 15:1-17 (NIV)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
I took a class in seminary that was situated around this Scripture. The professor constantly impressed upon us that our pursuit, both as ministerial leaders and individual Christians, was to abide. It was an incredible class that profoundly affected me and my relationship with Christ.
Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
When I was in my early twenties, this particular passage was one that brought much growth for me. I was obsessed that I wasn’t married yet. I had a great career as a youth minister, and I wanted to share that with someone, with my future husband. While I was on a youth retreat, I dove deep into this Scripture and finally was able to say to God “If I never get married, that’s ok, you’re more than enough.” I truly meant it. It took a long time, many years for me to be able to surrender to that desire, but I did through the help of this verse. And just like our good God, I ended up starting dating my best friend weeks later. A few months later we got engaged and this year marks our 10 year anniversary of marriage! God brings great things out of our obedience and surrender, for He always knows best.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
This verse actually hit me when I chanced upon it on Pinterest many years ago. It was a Scripture that I desperately needed as I was stepping out to do something that was really scary. God used this verse to show me that fear is not what He gives, but rather strength.
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
This Scripture helped me step into a deeper relationship with God, because I learned over time and contemplation, that God is with me and ahead of me. It’s often scary to step out in to the unknown, but understanding God is always with you and before you brings great levity and the ability to keep going on with purpose and stride.
Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
For a very long time, I used this as a prayer to become a better disciple of Christ. It is an amazing Scripture that helps one grow into a better follower of Jesus. If you want to transform your relationship with God, start with these words from Paul.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
This Scripture is a piece that I use as a barometer to see if I am aligned with God’s will and way. This is a grounding Scripture for me and helps me to recenter my worries and thoughts on God. I seek these Fruit in all that I do. While I may fall, and fall often, that never stops me in my pursuit of being more like Jesus, by bearing His fruit.
And to conclude, my all-time favorite Scripture is from Jesus:
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
This is my Jesus, the Jesus who loves me so much that He cares so deeply about the things that trouble me. He no longer wants me to live in captivity but offers me hope through His love and grace. I strive every day to live in this reality with this Jesus, for this is the Scripture that is my rock and foundation.
I hope that this brought some good for you today. I’m sure you know of all of these Scriptures, but it is a good reminder of how great our God is! Please choose one of these passages as your prayer practice today. Put it on your phone and set a reminder to go off every hour and reread it. Read it with the Lord and ask Him what He wants you to see from the passage you choose. I pray that this is a wonderful day for you and the Lord today!