Scripture has been many things to me over the years. As a child, Scripture was what grown-ups said to me to correct or to admonish me about any wrong action I had made. In adolescence, it was what I used to prove how religiously devout I was to church people and to God, through recital. In the first few years of college, it was used to prove that God was false and that everything I had been taught was a lie, and the time I had come to the conclusion that the power of the text laid in the hands of the beholder. Then, ironically, after accepting Christ and professing “Christianity” it was used to prove that God is true and Scripture became the fuel that justified my beliefs in the world of Apologetics. My relationship with the written Word of God has seen many awkward developmental stages, but it wasn’t until recently that the “it” of Scripture transformed into He.
This revelation wasn’t just important, it was vital. I could spend a lifetime arguing my beliefs about the bible and the recorded scriptures, but at what point would my beliefs about God be made manifest in the way I lived and loved others? I came to see, that my orthodoxy concerning Scripture did not immediately inspire in me a change of character. Instead, it only produced in me a smug satisfaction that my beliefs are the right beliefs. I was missing a huge underlying point. My peace, my love, and my joy were anchored according to what I was able to know and recite of the text more than I was empowered to apply it. I was, as it has been said in the book of James, “a hearer of the word only and not a doer”, mislead by my own mis-understanding. This mis-understanding was evident in my lack of fruitful relationship with others and dare I say God. In other words, I was living a life cut off from the vine (John 15).
I believe that Jesus is Scripture made manifest in the flesh. In Matthew’s account, Jesus said that “people won’t live on bread alone, but on every word spoken by God.” All speculations of the verse aside, this seems pretty straight forward to me. Jesus’ basically responds to Satan like, “Yes, food is important, but people are in need of something more.” Then as the text goes on, we see that the something more Jesus was referring to is actually “someone” and that someone is Himself.
When I engage in a daily devotion of reading and meditating on select passages and verses, I am entering into, continuing, or at least opening up the space for, dialogue with God himself. In all those years of reading Scripture, I knew it like the back of my hand, but my life had no power nor did my character transform until I began to see and know him. My relationship with God does not flow from Scripture, but rather a daily devotion to Scripture is an active part of my relationship with God, and therefore any devotion to reading some kind of scripture is a response to the love we share.
With any relationship, there are seemingly some good days and bad days, and I find that my relationship with God is no different. That is a result not of the character of God changing, but rather the product of a new spiritual nature that is birthed in me. In the same way, the transformative power of the Holy Spirit is at work in us. Jesus said that when the promised Holy Spirit came, he would guide us into all truth (John 16:13). When the teaching of Paul and Silas was first introduced to the Beroean Jews, in the book of Acts it is recorded that they went back to Scriptures—the written Word of God—in order to confirm what was being presented to them (Acts 17). What I see happening here is that the faithful of Borea had sown seeds of diligent study and meditation to the Scriptures, and when the time came, they reaped what they had sown in the way of Jesus being revealed to them and not passed over. They were able to see and hear God as he spoke in that particular period in a specific way to His people, regardless of what was commonly acknowledged as the “truth” of that time. I believe that the Holy Spirit moves in the same way today, meaning I see Scripture as seed that when watered, take root, and grow, reveal the Messiah not only to us but in us. Therefore, when we choose to cut ourselves off from vine by not abiding in Jesus through Scripture, we will continue to miss out on the cultural shifting and movement of the Spirit of God as He continues to lead us into the Truth, individually and collectively.
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