Perhaps our greatest need in the New Year is to get into God's Word.
This past year, many people have shared their opinions, but now God wants to speak.
Finance, fitness, and food goals are important, but no goal is more important than sitting before God with an open Bible and a humble, teachable heart.
This is the posture a Christian is to assume their entire life. Salvation may happen in a single moment of belief, but learning to live as a Christian and fully follow Jesus is the adventure of a lifetime. We continually learn to follow Jesus through His Word, the Bible.
RA Torrey, a close associate of DL Moody once said, "Christians who pray for power but neglect the Bible abound in the Church. But the power that belongs to God is stored up in the great reservoir of His own Word, the Bible."
DL Moody himself had much to say about the Bible, and was always pointing His hearers back to the Word:
"The Bible was not given for our information but for our transformation."
"The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible."
"I never saw a fruit-bearing Christian who was not a student of the Bible. If a man neglects his Bible, he may pray and ask God to use him in His work; but God cannot make use of him, for there is not much for the Holy Ghost to work upon."
"So few grow, because so few study."
"What we need as Christians is to be able to feed ourselves. How many there are who sit helpless and listless, with open mouths, hungry for spiritual things, and the minister has to try to feed them, while the Bible is a feast prepared, into which they never venture."
"The more you love the Scriptures, the firmer will be your faith. There is little backsliding when people love the Scriptures."
"Depend upon it, my friends, if you get tired of the Word of God, and it becomes wearisome to you, you are out of communion with Him."
"This is the test as to your being a true child of God - whether you love and feed upon the Word of God."
"When I pray, I talk to God, but when I read the Bible, God is talking to me; and it is really more important that God should speak to me than that I should speak to Him I believe we should know better how to pray if we knew our Bibles better."
"Bear in mind there is no situation in life for which you cannot find some word of consolation in Scripture."
"A quickening that will last must come through the Word of God. A man stood up in one of our meetings and said he hoped for enough out of the series of meetings to last him all his life. I told him he might as well try to eat enough breakfast at one time to last him his lifetime. That is a mistake that people are making; they are running to religious meetings and they think the meetings are going to do the work. But if these don’t bring you into closer contact with the Word of God, the whole impression will be gone in three months."
I don't know about you, but reading DL Moody's encouragements to read the Bible are soul-stirring! He gives us a window into what it means to treasure our Bibles.
The Bible has much to say about itself as well. Here are 5 Scriptures that will super-charge your Bible engagement:
1. Meditate on God's Word Day & Night (Psalm 1:1-3)
"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers."
This is one of my all time favorite Scripture passages.
Planting yourself in God's Word is like planting a tree by water. There is an abundance of life giving nutrients to give strength for a lifetime.
Here's a more modern illustration. A missionary to Africa has said: "Christianity boring? So is the best TV show if the set isn't plugged in. Be plugged into God and you won't be yawning."
We plug into (or put our roots into) God and His purposes for our lives through engagement with the Bible, and obedience to what God has spoken. If we don't do these two things (read and obey the Bible), we will always be lacking in our spiritual fervor and vibrance. If we do them, we will be on an adventure of a lifetime, and our spiritual life will be moving in the direction it needs to be going.
2. Let the Word Dwell in You Richly (Colossians 3:16)
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God."
Maybe you already love your Bible, but you are not giving enough time or consideration to it?
Let the Bible dwell in you richly, not poorly, not half-heartedly, but richly. Build your life on it. Make it your most important daily habit. Stake your future on it.
3. Bible Writers Spoke from God (2 Peter 1:20-21)
"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
Scripture is not fanciful tales, or incorrect history. It is pure, true and trustworthy because it has come to us from our faithful God. Archeology has consistently proven the accuracy of the Bible, and all doubt cast on these points by secular society fall flat to the honest scholar. There is far more evidence pointing to the accuracy of the Scriptures than we could ever fathom possible.
The Bible is not just nice words from men. It is not simply the oldest and most accurate history book. It is not just the bestselling book of all time, packed with wonderful stories.
The Bible is God's words to us today, and everyday. God has spoken, and is now speaking through the Bible. The Bible is wisdom, peace, comfort, correction and direction for your tomorrow. The Bible is the life-blood of the Christian, drawing them ever closer to Christ. The Bible is the greatest Book in all of humanity, and our greatest potential opportunity to know God more.
4. All Scripture is Useful (2 Timothy 3:14-16)
"But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right."
The Word of God is not just lofty prose. It contains various forms of literature, and tells powerful stories, but it is far more than this. It is useful for you, and your everyday life. It is helpful to show you the way to God, and how to live in light of the reality of God.
There are a thousand insights in the Bible that could help you right now in practical ways in your everyday life, but will never benefit you if you don't open the book. A pastor recently shared: "How many times the wisdom we needed for the day was in the Bible passage we didn't read that morning."
5. Do What it Says (JAMES 1:21-25)
"Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 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 someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it--not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it--they will be blessed in what they do."
AW Tozer said, "We can know the right words yet never be changed. This is the difference between information and transformation."
Scripture gives this warning. Don't be "deceived," or another translation words it "otherwise you are only fooling yourselves." We need to obey.
Is there an area of your life that doesn't line up with what the Bible says, and you know it? Don't keep looking for another solution, when you know what you need to do. Repent, turn from ways you know are wrong, and obey what God has spoken to you through His Word.
This is the real power of the Word of God, when we allow it to transform the way we think, speak, act and live.
Continue in the Word. Don't forget what you've heard. Do it. You will be blessed in ways you cannot begin to imagine.