Recently I was asked in a phone conversation, “What does the Word of God do for you?” I was offered time to think and respond via email. I did just that, ‘thought about it’. Keep in mind as I share my response, I am wired a bit weird. As a bible teacher I can not shake loose the desire to grab a principle, disect a word, or link a verse to another, and before I know, I have a stack of geeky books at my feet or multiple windows open in my bible software.
“What does the Word do for me?” My first gut response when I heard the question was 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “… all scripture is God breathed and good for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” And this is why? Verse 17 “… so that the man (woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
I thought further. Hm … depends on the current daily circumstance AND what portion of scripture I am reading. There are times it (the word) CONFIRMS. Confirms that I too am human, just as the characters in the bible. I read about Peter and sure enough, I can relate to his ambitious outbursts, not that I would actually crawl out of a boat, and attempt water walking – but I’d do something of the like and swinging that sword and getting the ear or telling Jesus NO. Yep… confirms.
God’s word also gives me COURAGE. I read David’s story and I see all the stupid mistakes (God does not cover up the faults of His heros.) I see the longings of his heart. The run FULL FORCE towards his God at times, the end results may not have been what most would think ‘rewarding’ – but he loved and lived. REGARDLESS, he is forever etched in history as ‘the man after Gods own heart.’ THIS gives me courage. In the same breath, it encourages me. That is taking anothers experience, hearing, observing and learning from it, enfolding it into my own, and giving me courage to walk in the same direction. (DeDe’s definition)
God’s word CONFRONTS. I have literally had His word stand in front of me… BOLDLY . I know THAT sounds weird, but I know that resonates with some of us. If I am behaving in such a way that is not …um… honorable, His word stands against that behavior like a blockade in the road. I am quick to say, NO, I do NOT heed to it all the time, and often ‘run around’ it. But I honestly believe, a God loving, Jesus follower, Spirit indwelled person WILL be confronted by God’s living and active word.
Then, God’s word CORRECTS. I MUST ad IF we allow it. Sigh… THIS is NOT enjoyable at times, but since God’s word is LIVING and ACTIVE and we are Spirit indwelled, we are (in my estimate) required to interact with the Word of God. And by golly, if we truely ‘listen’ at times, it DOES cut to the very marrow. Which indeed is … painful. The bible is our manual, our guide, God inspired those who penned it, so it’s God’s personal letter to us. I would call it ‘the relational manual’ – God is all about relationship. He will tell us through His word, where we lack, where we need adjustment, where we don’t align, AND how we are loved. He gave very careful concern to express love, He embraces us, like fathers arms, hugging while He says “I love you, I love you so much, I don’t want you hurt, this is what will help prevent that….” Some call the bible, God’s rule book – I beg to differ. What a harsh concept. I do not want to live my life according to a ‘rule’ book, steps of engagement for God’s approval (ick.)
What does God’s word do for me? His word COMFORTS. When reading words like “… give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name…” (David) what comfort! I can tell Him like it is. The Psalms and other places bring the ‘tenderness’ of scripture to life. Psalm 85 says ‘love and faithfulness meet together… the Lord will indeed give what is good’. How many times are we overwhelmed and we reach for a Psalm, that tender whisper, “He makes me lie down… restores my soul… He guides me… He turned my wailing into dancing….You are my hiding place.” Oh how the inspired penned the cry of our heart! Psalm 63, “My soul thirsts for You …. I have seen You in the sanctaury and beheld Your power and glory… I will praise Your name… and in Your name I will lift up my hands, my soul is satisfied. (I will add a selah here) AND His response, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Yes, His word comforts.
For me, His word CALLS. It beckons, like when God called out Samuel’s name over and over. It wasn’t man calling – it was God. I do believe that God speaks direction, ‘calling’ (if you will) through His word. There are times, I will be reading and soon my eyes well up, I ‘see’ what He is saying and I can not NOT share it. His Spirit calls so strong through His word, I may end up on the floor face down. The word calls.
I know it was somewhat a simple question, “What does the Word do for you?” It confirms, gives me courage, it confronts, corrects, comforts and calls me. But when all is said and done, it CAPTIVATES me. It is HIS word.
Now, I present the question to YOU. “What does the Word of God do for you?” Take time to ponder – examine. Are we in the Word enough to have it impact us? Does it comfort us, correct and by golly may it captivate!
In my bible I have written (put there in the early 80’s) When reading the Word look for:
An example to follow – a sin to avoid – a command to obey – a promise to claim – a new thought about God – a difficulty to explore – a matter for prayer.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Heb. 10:24)