Wednesday, January 09, 2019

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

From the moment we begin to value God’s word by observing it and putting into practice, doing what it says, it begins to impact our lives and to work in our favour. To this end, James, the Lord’s brother admonishes; “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” (James 1:22-24)

The word of God should be like a daily vitamin supplement to us. It should be taken every day for positive results. The more we spend time reading, studying or mediating on it, the more we shall stand on a firm footing. The reality of the word with regard to our daily lives is what matters. Once it becomes a way of life with us, it becomes indispensable like the sun to the flower and to life in general. Nothing develops outside of the sun’s rays which constitutes a constant life-giving source.

The Bible instructs us to obey the word of God as we would an instructions manual on any given subject, if we want to live fruitful lives. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) The custodians of the Law in Jesus’ day, the Pharisees and the Scribes, searched the Scriptures for multiple reasons except to see Christ in every book and every chapter. They had another agenda other than to empower the people. Our Lord Jesus was quick to remind them; “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me and have life.” (John 15:39)

Life is meaningless without the word of God as our guide. In fact, we become easy prey for the devil. God knows who is His by the degree of the word that permeates his or her being. When therefore we walk in the word, we walk in confidence, certain that the word of God is true and will take effect if we doubt not. The Bible is a gift to humanity to teach us how to live right. Most of all, it reveals the all-surpassing love of God for His creation.

One of the key reasons for clinging to the word of God is because of its power. It has the power to alter situations when we stand on His word in absolute faith. It acts as a weapon to ward off the devil under any and every circumstance. Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, God declares: “Is not my word like fire, and a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29) The apostle Paul likens it to a defensive weapon, a sword; “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17)

Our Lord did not hesitate to use the word of God against the devil when the latter did all he could to precipitate His fall by prompting Him to be disobedient to the word of God - just as he craftily did in the case of Adam and Eve.

First, he required Him to turn stones to loaves to bread for food judging that He would have been hungry after a forty-day fast. Our Lord Jesus answered him with lines of Scripture.  “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Two other attempts to test our Lord Jesus proved futile because He quoted the word of God on both occasions; ‘It is written.’  (Matthew 4: 7, 10)

As the opening bible verse underlines, the word of God is living and active; it is not dead. The more we use it the better it would be for us. The more we lean on it like a staff, the more it would sustain and serve us. God intended to equip us for all kinds of situations that we may encounter so that His word would come alive and take effect. God calls on us, His people, to teach His word to our children who are more vulnerable to the snares of the devil, so that they too can develop a defence.

Therefore, the Lord told Moses to “Fix these words of [His] in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children.....” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19a) Before we can teach our children the word, we must begin by teaching ourselves first. This requires a daily reading of the word and meditating on it, just as cattle would their curd – by chewing on it, over and over again.

For the word of God to take effect in our lives, we must identify with it and of course believe in its power to save us and prepare us for eternal life. It is very easy for us to be preoccupied with our own daily unceasing business which endeavours, for the most part, have little or no impact on the quality of the life we live. Our lives are set in a time frame. Besides, we are spirit beings and when our spirits are not fed we tend to drift away and become ineffective as subjects of God’s kingdom here on earth. 

God, like His word, is from everlasting to everlasting. He has made His word available to humanity to live by. Time is running out. This is the time of grace -- undeserved, unearned and unmerited favour – but it is for a limited span. Let us learn to put the word of God first so that everything would be assured subsequently. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)