|My First Bible|
The first Bible I ever owned was a large print King James, red letter edition. I had never had a bible of my own until this one. I purchased this one in August of 2001, and up until that point I was using a borrowed one from a friend; but this one, this one was all mine. I could write in it, highlight passages and underline words. It was mine and only mine. Finally, after that one wore out, I moved onto a study bible. Eventually that one fell apart (literally fell apart) and the tape holding it together just couldn't keep up, so I had to purchase another one. Over fourteen years of being a Christian, I have had three bibles to call my own. I love my Bible; my bible means everything to me. What about you? What does your bible mean to you?
You may think it is strange that I ask you about your relationship with your Bible, but I ask because it tells me about your relationship with Jesus. There is a saying that says a well worn bible is the sign of a well worn Christian. This I find to be very true. The Word of God is not just a book that has been on the best seller list for years, it is not just a book that we read before going to bed, and read when we have time. The Word of God is the Holy Bible, written by God for His people. It is a precious book which only God’s people can understand. I tried reading the Bible once, before I was a Christian, and it made absolutely no sense to me at all. Because I did not know the Author, I could not understand His word. We cannot understand the Bible if we do not first know the Author.
After I became a Christian, His Word became everything to me. It was the book I ran to when I was lost, alone, afraid, worried, troubled, and in need of strength. It was the book I opened when I didn't understand the emotions that were raging inside me, and it was the book that freed me from sin, addiction, pain and suffering. It was the book that showed me the desperate need I had for Jesus Christ in my life. Without the Word of God, I would not be the redeemed daughter of our Father, because it was through His Word that He showed me the love and the mercy and the grace that I so desperately needed. Without His Word, I would still be dead in my trespasses and sins, because without His Word I would have never met Jesus.
In our women’s study, we have started the book of Revelation. One of our study questions asks us how we should approach this mysterious book of things that are to come. The question asks us how we should approach not only the book of Revelation, but also how we should approach His Word. Pondering on this question convicted me. I think over the years I have lost some of the awe I have had for His Word. Being a new Christian everything about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and His Word was new and exciting. I was eager to open my bible every single morning. There was a hunger in me as soon as my feet hit the floor each day. I couldn't wait to read and study His Word, and be in His presence. But, I must be honest and tell you that as the years have passed, so has that eagerness. I have waned in my desire to be in His Word. I see it more as something I have to do, rather than something I long to do. This breaks my heart.
“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” (Proverbs 30:5) Scripture after scripture tells us that God’s Word is pure, holy, it is for us, it is a shield to us, a refuge, our strength, everything we need, or ever will need is nestled in the midst of its pages. His Word should be one of my most treasured possessions. John, fell to his face in awe and wonder at the voice of Jesus Christ. John saw Jesus and “fell at His feet dead”. (Revelation 1:17) This made me think of all the times that I have taken His Word for granted. I have hurried up and done my devotion time because I had a long list of things to do that day. The times I have hurried out the door instead of spending any time at all in His presence, because my life was too busy for His Word today. There are days where it is unavoidable, and I can’t get any time in the mornings for Him. But the rest of the day is not so busy, so what is my excuse then?
How do we approach His Word? Do we see it and know it as our life and strength? Do we approach it like we already know it? Sometimes I find myself reading a passage and skimming over it because “I already know it”. I know that Jeremiah 29:11 tells me that God’s thoughts towards me are for good and not evil, to give me a future and a hope. I know that Romans 8:28 tells me that all things work together for His glory and my good. I know that Ephesians 2:10 tells me that I am His precious workmanship, and He has already prepared a purpose and a path for me. But maybe I should stop approaching His word like I know it, and (once again) recognize that I know nothing at all. I need to remind myself that God’s word is living, and wants to live inside me. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God’s word is living and powerful; it is a two-edged sword piercing every aspect of my life- if I let it. Perhaps my lack of hunger for His word is a result of my thinking I know it already, and not allowing His Word to be the sword in my sinful life.
The hunger and desire I once had for Jesus has waned because my love and desire for His word has waned. I need Him, and most importantly, I must want Him. That desire comes through the way that I approach His Word to me. Any blessings that I will obtain from His Word will come through my humble submission to Him. I cannot approach the Word of God as just a book, something I must do today. I cannot approach it in my own strength either. I need to come to His Word and in His presence with the knowledge that nothing in me is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 3:5) My sufficiency to understand and to know the contents of the words written between Genesis and Revelation come from the power of the Holy Spirit and Him only. I know only because He has given me the understanding and wisdom to know.
The Bibles that we have are not just books. They are the Holy Word of God given to us, His children so that we can have a personal, intimate, fully complete relationship with Him. There is nothing that we lack because we have it all written down for us in His Word. Our strength, our hope, our peace, our joy, our “very present help” (Psalm 46:1) in times of trouble are sitting on our coffee tables and in our bookcases, just waiting for us to open them. We must hunger for His word, if we hunger for Him. We must desire His word, if we have any desire to know Him at all. We must come before His word in awe and wonder, not just as a routine or as something we are to do, but in humble submission to whatever it is that He wants to speak to us today.
If we desire a closer, more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, if we desire more of Him, than we must also desire more of His Word. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) Jesus and His Word are one in the same. You want more of Jesus; you want a deeper relationship with Jesus- then open His Word. I pray today that we would hunger for His Word, that we would see the great need we have to approach His word not in our strength, but in His strength. I pray today that we would see the desperate state of our lives when we are not in His Word, and how hopeless we are without His Word in our daily lives. Father God, I pray that you would ignite in us a hunger and thirst for more of You, and Your Word. In Jesus Name, amen and amen.