God’s Word is the most exciting book available. It’s the only book that is living and active. As the world’s bestseller, it can give you a warm and fuzzy feeling in your soul when you need comfort in a crisis; then it can smack you right between the eyes when your attitude or habit needs to change when no one else is brave enough to point it out to you.
It will speak directly to you as if it was written only for you…and, in fact, it was.
The Bible contains God’s love letters to you so that you would have faith in Him and discover what living for Him is really about.
So if God is real and His word is alive, why don’t we see the change we want when we read it?
Well, this may come as a shock to you as it did to me, because studying God’s Word alone cannot give you freedom!
We have approached God’s Word as if it is the sole answer to our freedom, but it’s not!
Unless you read it dependent on the Holy Spirit, who wrote it, can interpret it, and cause it to be lived out in our lives, it will actually work against you instead of for you.
We have made the all too common mistake that Bible knowledge all by itself will set us free. Well, it can’t and here’s why.
Head knowledge of the Bible without a heart receptive to the Holy Spirit to bring about constant application is dangerous!
Knowing the Bible alone cannot change your life.
Those who knew the Bible most in Jesus’ time were far from Him because the Holy Spirit did not bring about a conviction of the Word to their hearts and the power to apply the Word to their actions.
In fact, the men who were the most educated and knew the Bible the best were the ones that masterminded the perfect plot to execute Jesus.
We need to study God’s Word for the purpose of adding to our faith so that we love God more and live for Him.
God’s word can speak to the woman who moves from one broken relationship to another, to the teenager that is deceived to think it is best to end his life, to the man who feels guilty about the websites he visits online. But they will all stop short of seeing any real and lasting freedom because of a lack of connection with God’s Spirit.
To hear the Word and not have the power to apply it makes you as useless as a cell phone without a battery.
To obtain a connection, you need power that comes from a humble and dependent heart.
For today’s devotional, let’s meditate on two verses that expound on this truth:
“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40
Whenever you see the word “scriptures” in the New Testament, it is referring to the Bible (Old Testament), as that was the only written revelation because the New Testament was not written yet.
In this passage, Jesus warns us that Bible study in itself cannot give a person eternal life; rather, God’s Word verifies who Jesus is. They refuse to admit their need, deny their wants and find Him, who is life.
To study the Bible and miss the joy of living for Jesus is like going fishing all day and catching nothing but a cold… both are a waste of time. Who wants to miss “life”?
Despite this warning, most of the Western church has elevated head knowledge and turned teaching into the idol of our century.
The sermon has become the centrepiece of our Sunday services along with seminars, workshops and weekend conferences; however, teaching alone will not change lives.
We need a connection with the Spirit of God that will take the teaching and apply it to our hearts.
We have more books, more teaching and more seminars than any other time in Christian history, but we have more divorce, more rebellion and more sin and rebellion in the church than we have ever had before. Why?
We know about God, but we do not experience His power. We know about God, but we lack brokenness and humility that only the Spirit can give.
We hear about the abundant life on Sunday, but don’t experience it during our weekday frustrations and temptations.
Let’s put an end to this and live the life that Jesus intended for us to live.
You should be amazed that Jesus was so convinced that you could live life to the fullest that He died for the cause!
My heart’s cry is that these devotionals will bring you more in contact with the Bible with the purpose of bringing you more in contact with its author, the Holy Spirit.
Join me next week and we will discover more.
Pastor Gary Simons serves as the Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Bible Fellowship that meets every Sunday at 10am at Ruth Seaton James Auditorium.