James 1:22 (NLT)
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
|Among certain people in the Christian community, the Bible is a little like the weather. Everyone talks about, but no one does anything about it. Bibles among Christians can be as ubiquitous as the weather. We tote them off to church or Bible study group, keep them on our desks or night tables, even carry around pocket versions and Bible apps on our cell phones. You can’t get away from the weather, and when you’re in the company of Christians, you’re never very far from a copy of the Word of God, either.With so many Bibles in our possession and thrust into our attention week-in and week-out, one might expect a bit more of the fruit Scripture describes as issuing from those in whom the Word of God takes deep root.But here we are, as a people and faith more marginal to the social, cultural, and moral issues of the day, and – even for all our Bibles – apparently unable to shape the spiritual “weather” of our generation. Are we ashamed of the Bible? Are we just too easily satisfied with the life of faith as we have come to know it?
The Bible describes itself as living and powerful (Heb. 4:12). It claims to be able to penetrate to the depths of our souls, to excise sin, heal unbelief, and cauterize the wounds of wickedness and spiritual rebellion. It equips us for every good work, Paul insisted (2 Cor. 3:15-17) and provides a foundation of glory on which we increase into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:12-18).So where’s the evidence that any of this is true?
Jesus wants us to have a Bible – maybe even many Bibles – and to read and study them daily.
But He wants us to take His Word to heart and to strive, day by day, to work into our lives the promises and hope and power of Scripture, so that we increase in the salvation of the Lord day by day (Phil. 2:12).Over the past couple of years I have made a regular practice of reading the Bible daily and it has made a huge difference in my life. I have learned so much about God and who He is. I am able to face each day with a boldness and confidence that was never before possible. Despite my progress, there is still plenty of room for improvement. There are days that I don’t “get around to” reading my Bible. I put the tasks of my day ahead of my relationship with God. There are times when I read what I should do, but I don’t live it out. Sometimes I talk a good game, but leave quite a bit to be desired in the doing portion. This is not good. I need to continue to improve in this area.
Perhaps it’s a good time to review your Bible reading and study practices. Because if what you’re doing is not leading to a change in the spiritual weather of your soul, then your reading and study are in vain.
If we’re not ashamed of the Bible, then let’s arm ourselves with it, so that God can do His work in and through us with greater power and effects.