THE WORD OF GOD (BY NATE DANSER)
I have been given an incredible privilege in my life. I work at a Christian ministry that requires each staff member to spend at least 1 hour in personal Bible study and 1 hour in personal prayer each morning.
I call this an incredible privilege because I doubt that I would have had the spiritual sense to commit myself to something like that unless I had been required to. But as I look back after 10 years of spending at least an hour in the Bible every day, I can see that it has changed me in more ways than I can tell here.
However, I don’t want to talk much about my personal story. Instead, I would like to share a few things that I have come to treasure about the Bible.
The Bible reveals the truth about life
We live in a world that is controlled by the prince of darkness. The Word of God tells us that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 Jn 3:19) Do you sense that beyond the veil of natural sight there are spiritual forces seeking to keep mankind blind to the realities of life on earth? Are you keen to the fact that every human being is on a spiritual, yet very real path either leading to heaven or to hell? Have you ever found yourself in a difficult place spiritually and wondered how you got there?
When we allow Scriptures’ depiction of mankind to shape our perceptions, a startling picture emerges. All humanity is born in sin and iniquity (Psalm 51:5), lost in spiritual darkness (2 Cor 4:4), unable to comprehend spiritual truth (1 Cor 2:14), and unless we somehow acquire spiritual wisdom and understanding, we will wander aimlessly through life into eternal perdition.
This reality is shocking, but it only makes the Word of God stand out as a greater treasure, because it is brimming with powerful truth about life on earth. Just a cursory reading of the Proverbs will immediately show that to you. The Bible bears perfect witness about the spiritual paths that men take in this life, and the consequences or blessings of the path chosen.If we devote our lives to a serious and prayerful study of the Scriptures, we will begin to revel in the wisdom in its pages. Click To Tweet
If we devote our lives to a serious and prayerful study of the Scriptures, we will begin to revel in the wisdom in its pages. Our eyes will open to the devastating consequences of pride, adultery, envy, gossip, covetousness, slander, selfishness, ambition, prejudice and much more. But we will also be given eyes to see the beauty of a life that embraces humility, poverty of spirit, self-sacrifice, self-denial and the lowly life of Jesus Christ.
Even as Christians, the world, our flesh and the devil are constantly seeking to lead us away from the paths of life, and we as humans do not possess sufficient wisdom to realize where the dangers lie, or how to deal with them. But when we give ourselves to communing with God through His word, He will be faithful to alert us to things which hinder and damage our relationship with Him. This knowledge opens the way to real and ongoing repentance and we are able to walk in ever-increasing communion with Jesus on the paths of life.
If the world is controlled by the prince of darkness, then the Bible offers us a portal through the demonic haze into the bright realms of endless day.
The Bible reveals endless mystery
As someone who would be classified as “a thinker,” I would have to admit that mystery is not one of my favorite things. Early in my Christian life, I spent a lot of energy painfully wrestling with the questions I had about God.
At times I would seem to grasp Him in a way that made me comfortable, only to read something or have an experience that left me bewildered, as if I could never quite comprehend His ways.
But after years of crying out to God for revelation, for clarity, for peace, for help, for faith and for trust in what He has revealed about Himself, I have become much more comfortable with mystery.
In Western culture, it seems we are predisposed to desire that God be reducible to easily understood categories. We sometimes think that we can comprehend Him through human logic, mathematical reasoning, or cause and effect. But God is not a cosmic equation. Every human in the Bible who had the veil between natural and spiritual torn asunder had a glorious inability to handle the situation! Daniel, Ezekiel, Moses, John, Isaiah—these holy men walked securely in their knowledge of God, but in the presence of God, their entire being threatened to give way. Daniel’s legs no longer worked. Ezekiel’s lungs didn’t seem to be able to pull in any oxygen from the heavenly atmosphere surrounding God’s fiery presence. John fell at his feet as though dead. Isaiah’s estimation of his personal purity suddenly appeared as a mass of uncleanness.God is not a bigger version of us. He is a holy, awesome, wonder-full God, who constantly defies our categories and conventions. Click To Tweet
God is not a bigger version of us. He is a holy, awesome, wonder-full God, who constantly defies our categories and conventions. The church in America (myself included) greatly needs a rediscovery of the awe of the revelation of God, and a hunger for what still awaits discovery. May we hunger for God as we approach His Word, and pray that He would draw us out into His endless mystery.
The Bible reveals God to us
There are many ways we can look at the Bible in terms of its purpose. Perhaps the thing that stands out the most clearly to me is that the Bible is the way God has chosen to reveal Himself. Many might see the Bible only as a collection of religious maxims or repository of philosophical truths about life, but these views sell the Bible very short.
Further, it is not merely a textbook which instructs us about the Christian life, but a revelation of the center of the Christian faith, Jesus himself.
It is this purpose of the Word of God which can be so beneficial for us as Christians. We are called to be like Him, and as we meditate on God’s Word, we can discover the character of the One we are called to be like.
Who could not but be convicted when we see the steadfast courage Jesus exhibits as He does the will of God without regard to the consequences to Himself? Jesus would have been able to achieve vast popularity if he had confined himself to feeding the hungry and healing the sick without calling people to repentance and holiness. And he could have avoided the wrath of the Pharisees if he would have stayed clear of prostitutes and tax collectors, avoided doing “works” on the Sabbath Day, and quietly spread the commonly accepted teachings of the day. But it was Jesus’ unswerving dedication to the will of God that took Him to the Cross.
And who cannot but be moved by the tenderness of Jesus as he moves among his own creation without any air of superiority? We see him touching the lepers, accepting the kisses of the prostitute, defending the prodigal sons and taking on the sins of humanity so that they might come back into the presence of God.As we look at the revelation of God in the face of Jesus, we have the clearest representation of God that is available to humankind. Click To Tweet
As we look at the revelation of God in the face of Jesus, we have the clearest representation of God that is available to humankind. We see His uncompromising standard and His deep compassion. We observe his piercing holiness and His incomparable mercy. We see his extraordinary courage and His tender forgiveness.
How needful these revelations of God are for us in this dark day! We are living in a spiritual climate where many are “re-imagining” God in order that they may assuage their consciences and condone their self-serving agendas.
Everyone who is aware of himself realizes that he himself is not impervious to these assaults on truth. There is too much in our fallen natures that desires to be deceived. For this reason the Word of God is a treasure, because in it lies the perfect and sufficient revelation of life on earth, of God’s endless mystery, and of His beautiful nature and character.
May we each grow in our hunger for His matchless Word.