Saturday, July 26, 2008

His Voice (follow up post)

Rebecca left a great comment on my His Voice post...I love discussion! I am responding here simply because my response is so long. I encourage you to check out her comment and then share your thoughts!

My response:
I do agree that we cannot use 20-minutes-a-day reading the Bible as a measure of our relationship with God. As you say, that can lead to pride or guilt, neither of which glorify God. Additionally I agree with the vital importance of being in communion with God throughout the day...being aware of His Presence, submitted and guided by His Spirit, and listening for His voice.

I actually think we are saying the same thing, which is the importance of God's Word in our practical daily lives. Some, like you, may prefer to take text read in one sitting and return to it throughout the week. Other people may not have that large a chunk of time (like to read and ingest the entire book of Ephesians) or may simply prefer to read a bit each day and meditate on those few verses. And, for those who lack discipline, they may find that the longer they go in between readings, the more likely they are to put it off completely.

Regardless, the main point is reading His Word on a regular basis. Yes, God speaks to us in many, many ways...we don't want to box Him in by saying the Bible is the only way...but we can always be confident that His Word will not return void. The more you read His Word the more you will know Him, His will for your life, His priorities, etc. And when His Word is implanted in your heart, His Spirit brings it to your mind when you need guidance, instruction, and conviction.

The main purpose of my original post was an encouragement to seek God daily despite our busy schedules. If we want to know His voice, we need to know Him...and a way to do this is by saturating your mind with His Word. This may mean reading it daily OR meditating on a previous reading of it. Just as our bodies need daily nourishment, so do our souls: "as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby..." (1Pet 2;2)

For any readers who may not understand why it is so important to read the Bible, here are some of the reasons God Himself gives:

It is a main source of God's guidance to the believer:
Deut 17:19 - "And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes,

2 Tim 3:16,17 - All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Rom 15:4 - For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

1 Cor 10:11 - Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Matt 22:29 - Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.

We cannot always trust our impressions/feelings or things we hear from others, so we must place these all against the grid of Scripture to see if they line up with what God says:
ACts 17:11 - These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

We must know what the Bible says if we are to teach it to our kids:
2 Tim 3:15- and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

We can't obey if we are not familiar with God's instructions:
Matt 7:24 - Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:

Ps 119:133 - Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.-

Ps 119:169 - Let my cry come before You, O LORD; Give me understanding according to Your word.

James 1:25 - But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.


Rebecca said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! Amen, I am with you 100%. We need His Word, WE NEED IT WE NEED IT WE NEED IT. I just posted on my own blog recently about this. And I love all the reasons you gave about the importance of filling our minds with Scripture. The verse in Matthew brings out a very important fact that we often overlook as Christians: The Word is POWER!!! If we could even have a taste in walking in the power of the Word of God... what a radical difference it would make in our lives!!!

I think you are right... we are saying the same thing. WE MUST make time for God's Word. We have to keep filling ourselves up with it. What is easy to do is to let your Bible sit on a table or shelf and gather dust for months on end (and think going to church is enough). That is what I did for YEARS. I never touched it. Now, I can't get enough of it... it doesn't mean I am in it every day but I am IN IT and that is what matters.

I also wanted to emphasize the importance of OBEDIENCE to the Word... it is not enough to read it and say "I did my time with God today, I'm ok". The Word is power, it is a sword, it cuts to the heart. I can't read it without seeing sin in my life and areas that need change. If we love God WE WILL OBEY HIM. It is easy to say we love God and we love His Word... the true test is OBEDIENCE. And as you aptly pointed out with Scripture, to obey God we must know what He says.

The beauty of it is, as we walk in faith & become saturated with Scripture, we teach our children by our lives. I love doing memory verses with my kids (we play the Hide Em In Your Heart CD's by Steve Green all day, they are great!!!) I want them to hide God's Word in their hearts. I also want them to see their mama living for Jesus in day to day life... being an example of a woman of faith. I want them to see me with my nose in my Bible. I also want them to see me picking up people's keys for them - or bringing a meal to a sick person - or visiting the elderly. That is knowledge IN ACTION. It's not enough to just KNOW the Word. We need to know and then LIVE the Word! Again, obedience!!

Thanks Tish, this is such a great thread!! :)

Love ya

Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

Oh man. I feeling quite convicted. My Bible has been a shelf sitter lately. I convince myself that I am busy or that reading a few verses from Sophia's baby Bible "counts'. Sigh.

I'll be honest and say that other than when I have done a few studies, I have never learned to love the Bible in more than of a surface level kind of way. That hurts to even type.

So there you have it, my honest thoughts.

dan and rachel said...

personally, i spend time reading the bible because *I* need it. i would do things for others whether or not i was in the word that day. it's not only christians who do nice things for people! in fact, there are a lot of non-christians that i know that are a lot more thoughtful than the christians i know. there are times that i feel spiritually hungry to read the Bible and other times where i spend more time in prayer. i don't feel there's a need to be legalistic about it. it's not about meeting a quota. as long as we 1. love the Lord with all our hearts and 2. love our neighbors as ourselves we are doing what we are required to do.

Tish said...

i think rachel & rebecca's (the 2nd rebecca) comments go hand in hand. it is NOT about a quota or being legalistic concerning reading the Bible...but when we DO read the Bible faithfully, God uses His Word to fill our hearts with love for Him, His Word, and for others.