Do you only go to the Word in times of need and desperation? Or do you go to it daily?
I’m going to put myself on blast right now and tell you that I have definitely been guilty of this in the past for longer than I like to admit. I’ve gone through phases of only reading my Bible when I felt lost, desperate or troubled, but then when everything was A-OK again, I’d slowly read it less and end up going days, weeks, even months without reading it. Until the next problem arose of course, and I started to wonder why I felt anxious again, or as if something was missing (News Flash: It was. Ha!). I guess I went through a season of my life not truly realising and recognising the transformative power that the Word of God can really have when applied regularly in life, and forgetting the countless benefits it has on your mind!
It took me a while to finally put two and two together; that the peace I experienced amidst whatever circumstance, was based on my fellowshipping in God’s word, and not the absence of trouble. I would say that we are always in need, in some way or another. Sometimes it may not be obvious what we need, something may just feel off; other times it can be glaringly obvious when we’re going through chapters of our life where we desire guidance, answers, assurance or comfort. But when we don’t feel particularly meagre, we are still very much in need. In need of mind renewal. Daily. And spending time in God’s word can highlight just how much we need His wonderful living word and wisdom in our life. Not just sporadically, but constantly.
Imagine if we didn’t eat for a whole day, or worse a week. Not only might we be super “hangry” – I know I would be at least – but we would also feel weak, confused, malnourished and sick. Well, same goes for our mind, we need to feed it with the right stuff on a daily basis. We need brain food! And I’m not talking any old junk that can be fed through TV shows, social media, video games or ungodly conversation – to name only a few – but real true nourishing food for our mind that revives us, brings clarity and ultimately transforms us to be more like Christ; not mere breadcrumbs, but full hearty meals for the mind.
Jeremiah expresses it perfectly:
“Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became a joy to me and the rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Yahweh, God of Armies’. (Jer. 15:16)
I am so thankful to say that the word of God is more important to me now than the very air I breathe. But it hasn’t always been that way for me, and I also still need to make intentional efforts to not slip back into old rhythms or unhealthy half-hearted approaches to it.
In Ephesians 4:22-24 we are called to put off the old self that belongs to our former way of life and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. But what is the spirit of our mind and how do we renew it? Well, the Greek word ‘pneuma’ was commonly translated as ‘spirit’ and largely understood or used in reference to a person’s thought life, attitudes or emotions; although these attributes cannot be seen, we all know from experience that they bring to fruition some sort of visible influence in life. So, when speaking about renewing ‘the spirit of the mind’, it is essentially saying our thoughts, emotions and attitudes are made new!
Romans 12:2 instructs us to ‘not be conformed to the pattern of this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you can test and approve what the will of God is – the thing that is good and pleasing and perfect’. It would be pretty tricky trying to get to a destination without a map or directions of some sort, so why do we so often think we can navigate this life, through uncharted waters and unpredictable events, without the best form of much needed guidance and direction? Who better to pull up next to and ask directions from than God Almighty Himself?!
How true is verse 105 in Psalm 119, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, yes, a light for my path.” The more time we spend in God’s word the more we will be able to discern what is the will of God; what is God’s standard of right and good, and not just what is seemingly good to the world. With that, our mind, our outlook, our thought patterns, will be transformed, having put off the old self, and ‘put on the new self that is being renewed in knowledge, according to the image of the One who created it.’ – Col. 3:10.
Have you ever heard the phrase, ”fools learn from their own mistakes, but wise men learn from the mistakes of others?” We too can apply this to reading the Bible, by gaining wisdom, and encouragement from how our forerunners of the faith dealt with the tumults of life or what the adversary threw at them, by standing with God and remaining faithful to His word. We can also learn from the consequences brought about by those who did not remain faithful or heed God’s instruction and commands.
The opening of your words gives light. It gives understanding to the naïve. (Ps. 119:130).
I wholeheartedly encourage you to read through all of Psalm 119. It is rich in verses humbly honouring and beautifully extolling God’s word; my prayer is that this Psalm among many others will be the outcry of mine and others’ hearts for God and His righteous ways forever. I don’t know about you, but I want to work on making my heart like good soil, for the seeds of God’s word to be sown so I can hear, and understand, and bear fruit, not allowing the distractions of the world to snatch it away before it takes root. ”I will delight myself in your regulations; I will not forget your word”(Ps. 119:16). We know from Proverbs 12:25 that, “Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad”, so for all the days of my life, I vow to fill my heart and mind with the good, good words of God. Whatever you are feeling right now, I can guarantee you the Bible has much to say on it. God’s word is what you need. Study it, treasure it, feast on it, live it out, and share it!