I have often shared about my spiritual birthday, January 24, 1976. On that day, God graciously caused me to be born again by applying to me the saving work of His Son, Jesus Christ. God reconciled me, a sinner, to Himself through the death and resurrection of Christ! At that point in time, the Lord brought about some immediate changes in my life … and He has continued to be at work in me over the succeeding 40+ years.
One of those immediate changes was that the Bible “came alive.” I had read the Bible before I was saved; quite a bit, actually. However, when I read the Bible after being born again, it was fresh. God’s Spirit made the Bible impactful to me personally. It was engaging and relevant. I wanted to read it.
The Holy Spirit continues to work in my life through Holy Scripture. I want to share two recent examples. First, God spoke to me about my struggle with worry; specifically about my worrying over my upcoming mission trip to Ecuador. At that time, six weeks ago or so, there were many unanswered questions about my time in Ecuador. Since I am a person who likes to have details all nailed down so that I can know what to expect, I was feeling rather unsettled. The unknowns were providing plenty of fodder for worry!
One morning as I was reading my One Year Bible passages for the day, I “happened upon” Luke 21:14. In that verse, Jesus tells His disciples, “But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.” Well, that caught my attention! In that passage, Jesus is warning His followers that they would be persecuted, including being brought before kings and governors because of their allegiance to Him as Lord. He admonished them not to worry beforehand how they would defend themselves before their accusers.
Now, I don’t anticipate the need to defend myself before persecutors in Ecuador, but I was worrying about what I would say in the various ministry opportunities I will have. And I was worrying about a number of other things as well! The Lord drew my attention to this verse, especially the first part of it—“But make up your mind not to worry beforehand.” It was exactly what I needed to hear. And it reveals exactly what I need to do: I need to make up my mind not to worry beforehand.
I wrote down the verse on a slip of paper and began to memorize it. That slip still sits in my bathroom at home, very visible whenever I am brushing my teeth or shaving. The wonderfully amazing thing is that those words are not just timely, they are powerful! After all, “the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). By His Spirit, God is helping me through His Word in my battle against worry! Since the Lord brought Luke 21:14 to bear in my life, I have found myself worrying less. Praise the Lord!
The second recent example of God using His Word in my life was in the sermon on Romans 12:9-21. That passage contains a list of practical and specific instructions for believers in Jesus, outlining how we are to live in relationship with other believers and with unbelievers.
In the afternoon on the Sunday I preached that sermon, I was composing my “Word for the Week,” a weekly email that reminds us of the key idea of the sermon.* Here is the first sentence I composed for that email: “Pursue ‘the good life’ by living out a trait from Romans 12:9-21 this week.” After writing that opening sentence, I realized I needed to do that very thing myself! I looked back into the passage and then completed my email with, “Mine is ‘rejoice in hope’ (verse 12).”
What a help that verse has been! God has used it in the flow of life to point me toward the future hope He has given us in Christ: the confident expectation of Christ’s return and of the Paradise of God as our future home! Remembering that hope brings joy into my circumstances of the present, whatever they may be. Through His Word, God helped me rejoice in hope!
God is growing me up in Jesus through His Word. I am grateful for the Bible, the living Word of God! Aren’t you?
*If you would like to receive my “Word for the Week,” please contact the church office: 563.243.4164 or [email protected].