What is the Word of God doing in me?
Often I have heard Christians speak of what we should do with the Word of God. They stress that we should study it, or we should memorize it, or we should recite it in worship, or we should teach it, or we should spread it, or we should obey it. Each of these suggestions is good, but as I read Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, I find myself wondering whether we have been putting the emphasis on the wrong side of the equation. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul speaks of the “word of God” being “at work in you who believe.” Rather than asking, “What should I do with the Word of God?” perhaps the more important question to ask is, “What is the Word of God doing in me?”
As I contemplate this question, other things the Bible says about itself come to mind:
Psalm 119:105 describes the Word of God as “a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Am I letting the Bible shed light into my ignorance, my prejudices, and my sinful attitudes and habits? Am I allowing the Bible to provide insight to my outlooks, understanding to my misconceptions, and direction to the way I live?
Jeremiah 23:29 suggests that God’s Word is like “like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces.” Am I letting the Bible break down my pride, my arrogance, my stubbornness, my callousness toward others, my apathy, and my prejudices?
Ephesians 6:17 calls the Word of God “the sword of the Spirit.” Am I relying upon Scripture to defend me in my spiritual battles?
Hebrews 4:12 adds that the Word of God is “sharper than any double-edged sword” and that it “penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit.” Am I letting the Bible do its needed surgery in my soul? Am I letting it cut into my heart so as to expose the falsehoods that lie there? Am I allowing the Bible to cut sin out of me?
And 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that Scripture is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness that the person of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Am I letting the Bible train me and correct me and equip me and challenge me to be a better person? Am I seeking for the Bible to help me to grow in the likeness of Christ, with His integrity, humility, kindness, compassion, and courage, so that I can do good works?
An unknown writer remarked, “I am the Bible, God’s wonderful library…. To the weary pilgrim, I am a strong staff. To the one who sits in darkness, I am glorious light. To those who stumble beneath heavy burdens, I am sweet rest. To those who have lost their way, I am a safe guard. To those who are sick in sin, I am healing strength and forgiveness. To the discouraged, I am a glad message of hope. To those who are distressed and tossed about by the storms of life, I am an anchor, sure and steadfast.”
What a great and terrifying thing it is when the Word of God is at work in a believer!