Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Discover the Value of the Bible

Stop and ponder for a moment this question: If God wants us to do His will would He make it difficult to discover?  It is my belief that we miss out on God’s will, not because He has withheld it from us, but because we desperately want Him to bless our agenda.  Rather than going to His Word to discover and align our lives to His Will we plead with God to align Himself with our will.  We especially do this when our agenda seems to be so good.

I want you to consider what Henry and Richard Blackaby wrote in Hearing God’s Voice:
Many people underestimate God’s Word.  It is far more powerful than many realize.  From Genesis to Revelation God’s Word has the power to speak directly to a person’s heart.  By the Holy Spirit, God takes his written Word and applies it specifically to people’s lives...The Bible is not merely one option for discovering God’s will.  God’s written Word is the plumb line for our lives as we walk daily with him (p. 91).

If we hope to discover God’s will then the starting point will be the Bible.  Too many of us start within ourselves: our dreams and our desires.  The result is that we are led astray from what God truly expects from our lives, as we pursue the life that we want.  You see it is easier to live our lives based on our emotions and desires rather than to discipline ourselves to the study and obedience of God’s Word.  We would rather spend a few moments of self-reflection than doing an hour’s worth of studying the Bible.  Yet, it is the Bible that provides us the foundation we need for knowing and doing God’s will.

You and I can spend the rest of our lives aligning them to the truth we find in Scripture.  God doesn’t need to get anymore specific, and He certainly doesn’t need to get any clearer.  The Bible, being the very words of God, give us what we so long to have: the knowledge of God’s will.

Since the Bible is God’s Word and since it is the source of His will that means we need to make two commitments when it comes to the Bible.  If we do not make these commitments then the Bible will not have any value to us.  That is precisely why these commitments are so important to make.

The first commitment is to commit to knowing the Bible.  The author of Hebrews wrote; For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12; ESV).  The Bible, which is God’s Word, has the ability to get to the heart of the matter, if we take the time to really get to know what it says.  I fear that too many people miss the power of Scripture because they are so intent on reading the Bible they don’t take the time to study or meditate on God’s Word. 

While I want to urge you to read the Bible, I also want to challenge you to do three things.  First, I want to challenge you to submit yourself to the teaching of solid Bible teachers.  This is one of the reasons it is valuable to be part of a good Bible teaching Church, but in our day and age we can put ourselves under the teaching of people who teach the Bible on a daily basis.  Find good books written by sound teachers and find podcasts by teachers who correctly handle the word of God so that you can benefit from their study and insight.  A second activity I would challenge you to do is to meditate on Scripture.  When a passage jumps up at you take the time to think about the passage, pray and ask God about it, and then jot your thoughts down in a journal or the margin of your Bible.  The third activity I urge you to adopt is to memorize Scripture.  Memorization is the best way I know to get God’s Word into our hearts and minds so that it is able to constantly inform the way that we live.

The second commitment that we need to make is that we need to commit to applying Scripture to our lives.  I like the illustration James uses for this truth:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (James 1:22-25; ESV).

Knowing the Bible does us little good if we are not committed to aligning our lives to the truth we discover on its pages.  How are we able to do that?  The only way I know how to do this consistently is to be part of a community or a fellowship which challenges and encourages our spiritual growth.  This begins with being part of a good church, but it also includes have a close group of friends who are committed to following Christ Jesus.  Our dearest and closest friends need to be Christians who are committed to doing whatever it takes to follow Jesus.  Another essential thing we can do is develop a plan that leads to change.  We need to think about how to pray and ask for God’s assistance, we need to know the steps to take to cut sin out of our lives, and we need to know who we can turn to for support and encourage as step out in obedience.  Without a plan, that is based on God’s Word, we will not be able to align our lives to God’s will.  We need to be intentional about obedience otherwise our obedience will be spotty at best.

The Bible is valuable to our lives because it is God’s Word.  If we hope to live a life that honors and glorifies Him then we must make the Bible a big part of our lives.  It must become the source that informs the way we live our lives.  That mean means we have to know it and we have to obey it.  When we make those two commitments we will discover that the Bible is indeed the precious Word of God.

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