The words of the Lord should move us when we hear or read them. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) The word of God should touch us and evoke emotion from within. For from nowhere else can you be divinely encouraged, comforted, inspired or convicted.
Praying shouldn’t be a publicity stunt for the cameras while seeking 15 minutes of fame. For it’s our personal, intimate conversation with God…and He takes prayer very seriously…and so should we. As a Believer, I’ve seen the power of prayer and witnessed how intercessory prayer can literally change the atmosphere. But we tend to think of prayer as some sweet little poem we recite at the dinner table before meals and not the authoritative commands we can speak under the power of Jesus’ blood. To paraphrase I John 4:4, Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world. And if we could but grasp a glimpse of just how powerful our prayers are…this world would be shaken, and all the evil in it. May I then be so bold as to encourage you to prayer walk around your town…around your schools…around the area you live in. For we are all asking ourselves the same question, “What can I do in the face of all this evil in the world?” The answer is prayer…bold, impassioned prayer.
The Apostle Paul readily admits here that he’s not yet arrived at perfection in his spiritual life. So how come we think as soon as we become a Christian we’re a mature Believer that can’t fail? I Timothy 6:12 tells us to, “Fight the good fight of faith.” The journey of our Christian walk is going to be a struggle…it’s going to be a battle between good and evil, with us sometimes coming out of the skirmish bruised and battered. But we need to get back up and not allow failures to define who we are in God. Failures simply mean we’re still trying…and still fighting the good fight of faith.
Deuteronomy 32:4 tells us, ” He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” So let’s ponder the word “perfect” in both these Scriptures for a moment. Everything the Lord does is complete, truthful, and faultless. His manner and means will always be sincere and pure, for there is no deception found in Him. In a very imperfect world, He is our shield and refuge and the Rock we can run to in times of fear and confusion.
Bread has been a staple of the human diet for centuries…it’s simple, filling, and easy to obtain. The Word is a lot like bread. In John 6:32-33 it says, “Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jesus is the bread of life, and grasping ahold of His Word…being self-disciple in your study of it…will enable you to cherish and hide it deep in your heart. The Word is a lot like bread, it’s simple…just open the book. It’s filling…satisfying your very soul. And it’s easy to obtain…you can do it yourself.
Jesus taught the crowds that clamored around Him with parables…but when He was alone with His disciples, He would explain the meaning behind them. It tells us in Mark 4:10 that, “When He was alone, the Twelve and the others around Him asked Him about the parables.” Reading about God from some author isn’t the same as being alone with God yourself. Solitary time with God and His Word enables you to ask those tough questions you’re confused about. And as you probe deeper into His Word, that alone time with God becomes even more important…for it’s then that He can teach, edify, and exhort you.
Stiffed-necked…that’s quite a word picture in my head! When your neck is immobilized by a cervical collar, you can’t swivel your head independently without moving your whole body also… for you lack the flexibility and capacity to turn. When we’re stiff-necked towards God, we’re unwilling to turn away from sin…refusing to listen and heed His Word.