“The Bible is a book that is not merely for reading. It is a book for studying so that it can be applied. Otherwise, it is like swallowing food without chewing and then spitting it back out again – no nutritional value is gained by it. It cannot be emphasized strongly enough just how important the Bible is to our lives. Studying the Bible can be compared to mining for gold. If we make little effort and merely “sift through the pebbles in a stream,” we will only find a little gold dust. But the more we make an effort to really dig into it, the more reward we will gain for our effort.” (Ron Moore)
Why have so many people chosen to not read the Bible? They ask for guidance, yet complain, feeling that God has forsaken them when they don’t get an immediate answer, or they get an answer they weren’t looking for then choose to ignore it. What determines your steps? If you’re not reading His word, how do you keep your path from careening out of control onto the slippery slope of this world? “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word.” Psalm 119:9
What makes one pick up the latest edition of People or Money magazine rather than their Bible? They choose to spend their time watching television or making some other excuse as to why they won’t study His word. People become so self-absorbed and self-reliant that they completely miss God, His wisdom and His guidance. “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
How can you take Him at His word if you never read His word? “But He answered, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4.
How can you expect to hear from God if you don’t seek Christ first? “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.
Or do you think that by simply listening to a Christian radio station, or your pastor once a week for 30 minutes, is all you need in your life to sustain it? God calls each and every one of us to read His word and not merely rely upon the things that are placed before us, and that of which falls upon our ears. The Bible gives us the measuring stick by which we can distinguish truth from error. We are to test all things to the word of God and seek His truth. “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
I have a choice to make. Every day, countless times a day, I’m faced with choices. Some, fairly simple – What should I wear? What should I eat? Do I drive this route or another? Do I return this phone call or send an email? Others, not so much – Should I keep my mouth shut as to how I’m feeling, knowing the end result could be disastrous either way? Do I expose my heart and all the ugliness that it has held in my lifetime? Do I trust him to be the man he says he is and to do the things he says he will do, or won’t do for that matter?
Choices. Decisions. Consequences.
I was recently faced with a choice…to trust, or not to trust. To let go and let God, or to facilitate and manipulate. To release and be set free, or to control and be imprisoned. To let the Divine divide and conquer, or to be divided and conquered by the world. I know I made the right choice…THIS time. Over the span of my lifetime, I’ve had to face this choice repeatedly. I’ve learned a lot from making wrong choices, but more assuredly, by reading my Bible, seeking His face, His truth, and His will. This is where I receive true wisdom, divine guidance, and a straightened path. Through reading the Bible, His love letter to each and every one of us, I’ve grown into a much deeper, intimate relationship with my Savior and King. I’ve learned that He is truly all I need to sustain me in this lifetime…and for all eternity. The trials have, and will continue to come. The storms will try to quench the fire ignited by the Holy Spirit Who resides within me. I know I will fall at times, but I will fall forward into the arms of my Lord. He has always, and will continue, to lift me up and steady my feet, for I am founded in Christ, and He is the solid Rock on which I stand. “Everyone then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:24–27
I have finally learned to let go and let God. I’ve been released from the prison that bound me to worry, fear, doubt and distrust. I know that the only way I can trust someone else, is through Him. If wrong is being done, I know that He will protect me and His light will reveal all darkness. Therefore, I made a choice. I purposefully chose to step off the destructive path of self-will, knowing that it would only continue to lead to dysfunctional disaster in my life. I laid down what I thought to be control and authority at the feet of the only One who truly knows the meaning of those words. What I thought was control was really only self-destructive self-will and selfish desire that kept me in a vicious and continuous cycle of disappointment, depression and defeat. Yes, I have learned this, but I have not perfected it. It will only be perfected in me through Christ, and by me continually seeking and following Him and being in His word. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to aimlessly walk around and head down a fruitless path. I don’t want my self-willed choices to prevent me from entering into the abundant life God has for me. I must choose daily to pick up my cross and follow Him by remaining in His word, keeping my focus on Him, listening for His prompting, and having the discernment to know the way He would have me go. If I choose to not do any of these things, how could I ever make right choices for my life? How would I ever know where He is leading me? How could I ever have anything but a fruitless life and be lost in the oblivion of self? “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” 1 Chron. 28:20
I choose Him. I choose His Word. I choose prayer. I choose an intimate relationship with Him. I choose life everlasting…because He first chose me. To live in the Light, you must be in the Light. You MUST make a choice…He won’t make it for you…that is, until the time for choices comes to an end. The time is now. “And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11
Will you continue in darkness in your own way without Him, without studying His word, and trying to do life in your own strength? Or will you turn to the Light, casting the shadow of darkness and doubt behind you, allowing the Son to be magnified in your life? Which do you choose?
December 6, 2011