By Marilyn LaStrape
The Bible is without parallel in its scope and eternal message for our lives and the unalterable destiny of our souls. We have heard for years that the Bible is the number one best seller. According to one source, the Bible tops the best seller lists every year. World sales of the Bible are more than 100 million every year! From a personal perspective, this fact reveals several most frightening truths. (1) For untold millions the Bible is a book just like any other book or it has become a mere text book; something to be analyzed and scrutinized like a historical document. (2) It is in countless homes on a bookshelf gathering dust or used as a decoration on a coffee table. (3) For the vast majority, the thought that the Bible is to be read and obeyed has never invaded the privacy of their thinking capacity. For them divine Scriptures are simply words on a piece of paper!
Those of us who are faithful members of the Lord’s church know all too well that the Bible, the Word of God, is the center and core of our existence! However, there are times even in our lives when we allow doubt, fear, worry, guilt or any other number of negative emotions to creep into our thinking and weaken our faith. It is at these times that God’s Word for us can become mere words on a piece of paper!
Our faith or belief in Scripture is our passageway to God. Our faith or belief comes by hearing what God has revealed to us in the Bible. “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Everything that we receive from and know about God’s love, mercy and grace, which is His divine initiative toward us, is accepted on the basis of our faith in the One who said it through revelation. Paul told Timothy, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed” (1 Timothy 4:6). Notice Paul said Timothy had carefully followed the teachings of Scripture!
highest knowledge that we can ever possess is the
knowledge of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Speaking of
sovereignty as Creator, Owner and Sustainer of the universe, Psalm 33:6
“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the
host of them by the
breath of His mouth.” Verses
For the Bible to be more than mere words on a piece of paper, it must become real to us personally. This will only occur through reading, seeking, searching, studying and meditating on Scripture daily! We don’t normally let a day pass without taking on physical nourishment to ensure our strength and endurance. We must have the same diligence in being spiritually filled.
are several steps that must be considered in
making God’s Word real. We must first understand and accept
God’s Word as the
final, absolute, standard and authority for righteous living! We must
understand and accept that our submission and obedience to God is His
and expectation of us! Shortly before Jesus returned to heaven, He told
eleven, “All authority has been given to
Second, we will seek to learn and understand God’s Word with an open and honest mind. We will want to know what difference having this knowledge will make in our everyday lives. Jesus said; “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). Do we believe that, or are they just words on a piece of paper?
Third, we will search
God’s Word with an open and
honest mind, and we will ask as the Psalmist David: “Show me
Your ways O Lord,
teach me Your paths; lead me in Your truth and teach me. For you are
the God of
my salvation; on you I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:4). Jesus
Fourth, we must study, and study long and hard! As we study, we will ask many questions of those who have far more knowledge than we do in our quest to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. We have been commanded to be diligent in our pursuit of divine truth. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:1). Do we believe that, or are they just words on a piece of paper?
and very important is meditation. The key to
making God’s Word real in our lives is meditation.
To make a practical application, consider just three of the virtually countless issues with which we must deal; these are setting priorities, making decisions and controlling materialism. Life demands that we set priorities daily, make important and sometimes urgent decisions daily, and our attitude toward materialism is truly a daily challenge!
setting priorities Jesus said, “But seek first the
With regard to making decisions two passages are noted. “I thought about my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies” (Psalm 119:50). “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Are we believing and obeying this, or are they just words on a piece of paper?
Focusing on materialism the Bible says; “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase, this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them; so what profit have the owners except to see them with their eyes? The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much; but the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-12). Are we living our lives in light of these eternal truths, or are they just words on a piece of paper?
Are we, as it were, walking billboards of our faith in the power and control that God has in our lives? Paul and his companions were about to be shipwrecked in Acts 27:21-25. He was told there would be no loss of life among them, but only of the ship. In verse 25 Paul said; “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told to me.” Do we have that kind of faith in what God has said? To the church at Colosse Paul said; “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily” (Colossians 1:29). Can we say that?
One good preacher made
this observation in a sermon
years ago. He said, “The only limitation that we have is the
size of our faith
in God.” That is exactly what Paul says in
The bottom line to victorious and abundant living is our faith and obedience to our Creator. God is able to do anything, but for us personally it is all according to the power that works in us which is our faith in His power! “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…who has begotten us again to a living hope…reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5). Our faith is the abiding, constant, solid shield against Scripture ever becoming nothing more than mere words on a piece of paper!