Bible Text: 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
My 18-year-old daughter is studying to be a nurse. That takes a lot of time and effort, and a lot of cracking the books as they say. If she fails to do her assigned readings, fails to apply her mind to understand what she’s reading, half-hazardly approaches memorization of key terms and aspects of her chosen profession, it’s safe to say she’s very quickly going to find herself behind the rest of the class as well as possibly becoming hopelessly lost. She may, or may not, pass her classes, however, regardless, she’s not going to be as effective at her profession as she would have been if she’d properly applied herself from the very beginning. She may even find herself so frustrated trying to understand the material she gets to the point she eventually makes the decision to drop out of college altogether.
The same applies to us as Christians in our daily walk with God. Allow me to explain.
Read (Study) God’s Word
STUDY, noun [Latin , to study that is, to set the thought or mind. See Assiduous.]
1. Literally, a setting of the mind or thoughts upon a subject; hence, application of mind of books, to arts or science, or to any subject, for the purpose of learning what is not before known.
ASSID’UOUS, adjective [Latin assiduus, from assideo, to sit close, ad and sedeo; Eng. to sit.]
1. Constant in application; as a person assiduous in his occupation.
2. Attentive; careful; regular in attendance; as an assiduous physician or nurse.
3. Performed with constant diligence or attention; as assiduous labor.
Understanding and applying God’s word to our lives work the same way. We must diligently study our Bible on a daily basis. God speaks to us through his word. God’s lessons start in the Bible and are applied directly to our lives. However, just as the knowledge my daughter gains is rarely gleaned from a quick perusal of a textbook or a technical manual, so too are the insights he wishes to share with us ever gained by a quick once-over of a line or two of text from the Bible. It takes effort and intentional application of ourselves to the study of his word to feast upon the sustenance God has in store for us. It is only through careful and considered application of our time, effort, and mental capabilities that we can ever be sustained by the powerful, life-altering messages contained in the Scriptures, both as a whole and within the confines of individual verses. The Bible is so much more than a magazine!
Receive God’s Word
RECE’IVE, verb transitive [Latin recipio; re and capio, to take.]
1. To take, as a thing offered or sent; to accept. He had the offer of a donation, but he would not receive it.
5. To take or obtain intellectually; as, to receive an opinion or notion from others.
6. To embrace.
Books are fabulous devices! They allow us to share information, to pass on ideas to others, and to do so over great expanses of time. Books don’t simply disappear the moment someone reads them. However, just as in the case of my daughter in school, the messages and ideas contained in the books assigned to her by her teachers don’t just unfold themselves in her brain. She has to, firstly, admit to herself that she doesn’t know something and be willing to be taught the ideas contained in the textbook, and secondly, she has to integrate that idea into her overall picture of what she is trying to do with her life. She has to figure out how to apply it within herself, her life, and those she’s attempting to help. Basically, she has to receive the message and ideas contained in her book and figure out how to apply them. Sometimes, the idea is simplistic and easy to figure out. Many times, though, that is far from the case. It starts a cascade of questions in her mind of where, how, when, and why to apply what she’s being taught.
The same holds true for us as we study and internalize the Word of God! However, the Bible is so much more than a mere book! It’s God’s inerrant, infallible, and inspired word! As such, it’s messages are deeply impactful, life-changing, and speak to each of us differently as God sees and addresses each of us individually. Rarely do the concepts, ideas, and messages God passes on to us fit like One-Size-Fits-All gloves! Remember, we were living any way we wanted with no regard for God, his holiness, his laws, or the life he had originally planned for each of us!
It is a wholesale change for us that reaches down to the very core of who we are! Anything less than such a change isn’t a real change; it’s superficial at best! You can’t, and don’t, change the core of someone long term without changing, and feeding that change, the very fabric of who that person is! When God rejuvenates and regenerates our spirits, this is but the beginning! When the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us, this is just the beginning of the housecleaning and the journey ahead! But the only way that can happen is if we become willing to hear, and apply, the very lessons God is trying to teach us! We have to actively seek his face! The Bible tells us:
Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. – Psalm 105:4 KJV
Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. – 1 Chronicles 16:11 KJV
Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. – Isaiah 55:6-7 KJV
Rejoice In God’s Word
REJOICE, verb intransitive rejois’.
To experience joy and gladness in a high degree; to be exhilarated with lively and pleasurable sensations; to exult.
When my daughter finishes a class and adds it to her tally of completed classes needed to get her degree, you can bet she has a high degree of happiness and joy running through her! She’s one step closer to her degree and her goal! She can also take pleasure in knowing that she has gained important knowledge and gained valuable insights along the way! As she reexamines what she learned from each class she also gains in confidence in her knowledge, her skills, and her capabilities. She’s also now capable of passing that knowledge on to others so that they too can learn and apply it in their own lives. So too is it the same for us as we study God’s Word!
As we delve into the Word of God, we are reminded to take the time to apply the concepts and lessons we pick up to our lives. As we dive deeper still, we come to understand more about the God of all creation, the love he has for us, and the sacrifices he’s made on our behalf. The longer we spend in his Word, the more we come to see what he expects of us and why. We come to love him as much as he loves us. When life hits us, as it always does, God’s Word provides us with strength and encouragement. As the enemy seeks to tear us down and destroy us, his Word shows us how to stand firm and with confidence.
We come to see that we are not alone, that he is always with us, and that there is power in his Word for our lives! We start to rejoice at the changes we see taking place in our lives, we experience real joy, probably for the first time in our lives, as we look back on what we were, what he rescued us from, where he’s brought us, and where he’s taking us! We grow stronger from his Word, more confident in his love for us, and experience our faith in his son solidify into something we know innately we can count on! Our fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ see the changes God wrought in our lives and rejoice in turn at the power and glory of his Word. We grow stronger every day, we rejoice in the Lord more each day, and God is glorified as he should be!
As we study the Word, God begins to make changes in our lives. He plants seeds of change in our hearts and makes them grow. As we enact the lessons he teaches us in our lives we become approved of God and the fruits begin to show in our lives. We find ourselves seeking him ever more diligently We find, as we dig deeper and deeper into his Word, nuggets of strength, courage, solace when we need it, love, hope, and joy that can only be found when one digs and digs deep! Oh, what a miraculous change in our lives, our hearts, and our spirit comes about!
Then, slowly, something miraculous happens! God begins to use us for His purpose! We become capable of being workmen for God! We become willing and able to labor for his cause! He begins to use us to impact the lives of others and this is only possible because we feasted on the Word of God! We sought him as he had done us, and in turn, we can now help others to do the same! We begin to be able to reveal, sensibly, the message of hope, love, joy, and salvation to others! We begin to be able to lead others to their own appointed meeting place where they, too, will find the Lord waiting patiently. Study his word! Be not ashamed! Divide the word of truth! Help lead others to the Lord so they too may know him and come to love him as well! Can you think of any better way to express thanks to the God of all creation for all that he’s done for us? I can’t! How about you…?