It’s a warm, sunny day when a tall man and his wife invite you into their home. You settle on the wooden chairs around the dining room table, and tendrils from your hair blow slightly from the ceiling fan’s cool air. The walls of the bright, yellow kitchen beam at you, and the plates on the shelves smile down at you. The gentle strains of a guitar drift over from the CD player in the corner, while a big dog snoozes on the floor.
You take leisurely sips from a tall glass of tea as a young child toddles over and pats her mother’s leg. The smells of supper simmering on the stove comfort you as you begin to tell the woman what’s going on in your life.
For two hours these kind people listen as you pour out your story. You share a little of yourself as you tell about the broken relationships, the financial hardships, and the problems in your home.
As the cat rubs against your host’s leg, begging for more milk, you ask if there is any solution to your problems. The man picks up his Bible from the desk against the wall, and with familiar fingers he thumbs through the pages, showing you some of God’s answers, much like a physician offers hope to a dying patient.
Why does this godly couple – and others like them – have so much hope to offer? Where did they ever learn to navigate the pages of Holy Scripture with such confidence? How did they uncover the secrets of spiritual abundance that remain hidden to so many?
This is a question that I’ve pondered for years, as I’ve observed the lives of men and women we know. Karen (real person, not her real name) became a Christian before we met her. She had been living with one man after another and was heavily involved with the drug scene on the beaches of California. One Saturday night, while wandering from one nightclub to another, she saw a group of young adults sitting around a bonfire at the water’s edge. They sang happily as one man accompanied them with his guitar. In their jeans they sang of the God of creation, and their joy was the magnet that drew Karen to them. Soon after, she repented of her sin and accepted His forgiveness, and by the time we met her only four years later, she and her husband were spiritual leaders among the married students at the Bible college we all attended. Today her husband writes biblical commentaries, and they enjoy a God-honoring family life.
Wendy, on the other hand, was born and raised in a Christian home. She attended church and Sunday school faithfully as a child and even went to a Christian school. Yet when she was grown, she married an unsaved man and was uncertain how to help her three sons learn to submit to her authority. She rarely read her Bible and was often plagued by doubts of her salvation. Recently, a cult member knocked on her door, and now Wendy is attending their weekly meetings.
Then there is Sharon, who grew up in an abusive home. Her grandmother arranged for her to ride a bus to church when she was in second grade, and there she dutifully learned her memory verses and even prayed a prayer to accept Jesus during summer vacation Bible school. However, when as a teenager her older sister got pregnant out of wedlock and her younger brother was institutionalized for psychological disturbances, Sharon blamed God. She continues to long for a spiritual element in her life, so she has turned to a New Age lifestyle and to the mysticism it represents. She recently took a Christian book and crossed out every reference to God, writing her own name in instead.
But then I know a young mother named Jennifer who, at the tender age of three, prayed to ask Jesus to forgive her sins. Her faithful parents consistently taught her how to know God in a personal way and how to apply His Word to every area of her life. She is careful to obey the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and she is skillful in teaching it to others. Today, she and her husband live in Europe, where they host Bible studies and are starting a small congregation in their home. Though separated from her family back in the states, she joyfully opens her home to her new neighbors and shares how they too can know God. Now her own young daughter can recite many Scripture passages and her little son is a joy to be around.
What makes the difference? Each of these women – and countless others, both men and women – has been exposed to God’s Word. Some are taught about God as young children, while others dig in and study as adults. Still others turn from the truth in God’s Word and deny the knowledge of God.
Knowing God is more than a feeling, more than attending church, and more than saying a prayer. Knowing God means learning the mind of God and allowing the Spirit of God to enter your life, remaking you from the inside out. This can only be accomplished by learning to consistently study and apply the Word of God, the Bible, to your life.
In other words, we must choose to hear and then obey.
Studying God’s Word daily gives us tools that are perfect for what we need to tackle the challenges of life. God speaks to us through His Word, and when we learn to intelligently open its pages and hide its words in our hearts, God’s power takes the rough edges off our lives and polishes them into masterpieces – to His glory.
What are some of the tools that are hidden in the pages of this ancient book? Why can they so strongly impact our lives? Let’s look at seven tools God’s Word contains.
The Bread of Life
Near the beginning of your Bible, you’ll read how God brought His people out from slavery in Egypt and provided for them as they traveled to the land He had promised them. One of His miraculous provisions was manna – small, honey-flavored wafers that mysteriously appeared on the desert sand each morning. This “bread from heaven” fed His people for over forty years.
In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses records for us why God provided this food for His people:
“So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of YHVH” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
We are His people, too, and we also need to learn that our life is dependent, not on material things, but on the eternal Word of God. The busyness of daily living, stresses at work and home, emotions tugging us this way and that, can all take their toll. We can easily be deceived into thinking that we are capable of fixing all our problems ourselves, without any supernatural help from God. In a desperate search for money, happiness, or peace, we forget that we are utterly dependent on God. We need to return to the nourishment found only in the sustaining Word of God.
Do you feel self-sufficient, or do you realize how much you need God? Here’s how you’ll know: How long has it been since you spent significant time in His Word?
The Honey of the Word
The Psalmist wrote,
“How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).
Unlike Sharon who turned to mysticism for fulfillment and literally despises the Word of God, we have found that the more we meditate on Scripture, the sweeter it becomes. As we discipline ourselves to meditate on it “all day long” (Psalm 119:97), it becomes even sweeter than honey.
- It imparts to us wisdom that carries us through the roughest times.
- It gives us an understanding of God that can be the envy of the world’s most learned men, because through its pages we develop intimate relationships with God Himself.
- It helps us avoid the mistakes people have made repeatedly throughout history as we learn to apply its principles to our everyday lives.
- We begin to see the world through God’s eyes, loving what He loves and hating what He hates.
The sweeter God’s Word becomes to us, the more time we spend reading it. The more we read it and do what it says, the sweeter our lives become.
Is spending time with God in His Word sweet to you? Here’s how you’ll know: Do you have a consistent, daily time scheduled for Bible reading and study that is of higher priority than even the most delicious food?
Solid Food for Growth
The author of the book of Hebrews wrote to the church in Jerusalem,
“… you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14).
We can this same problem on a broad scale in our society today. Men and women, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers are too often unskilled in using and understanding God’s Word, unsure of what is right and what is wrong.
Often years after they began attending church or identifying with Christianity, at a time when they should be spiritually mature and ready to teach others, they themselves are still spiritual babies who need to be taught the basics of Scripture. They need spiritual spoon feeding!
Yet these verses say that the man of God who trains (“exercises”) himself through frequent use of the “word of righteousness” will finally be able to discern between good and evil.
Can you tell between right and wrong, or do you continuously need help from others to make decisions? Here’s how you’ll know: Are you confident that you know your Bible well enough to apply it to your own problems and to offer biblical solutions to others?
More Precious Than Gold
In Psalm 19, King David penned a song that told of the two ways we can know God — through creation and through God’s written Torah, which is the Hebrew word for “instruction.”
He beautifully describes how the stars in the sky proclaim the living, creator God and how “there is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard” (Psalm 19:3).
Yet he then describes himself as wealthy because the creator of the heavens has made Himself known to us personally through the pages of the Bible.
Simple people can become wise and hold the treasures of God in their hearts. The young can be spared from life-crippling mistakes by taking heed to God’s warnings.
The Word of God is forever and can therefore be depended upon. That is why David proclaims,
“The law of YHWH is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of YHWH are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of YHWH are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of YHWH are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of YHWH is pure,
The decrees of YHWH are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:7-10).
Is it any wonder, then, that Satan desires to downplay the value of God’s Word? The great deceiver would have you believe that the Bible is just a story or a fairy tale, useful only for children or for the ignorant. Educated people, he claims, can see through its restrictive and antiquated beliefs. True wealth, says he, comes only when we look within ourselves and realize the potential found there.
Yet YHVH promises that in the keeping of His laws, His Torah, there is great reward. We are faced with a choice, whether to seek for ultimate truth within ourselves or to be obedient to the instruction He has given in His Word.
Is God’s Word more precious than gold to you? Here’s how you’ll know: When your own opinion disagrees with the Bible’s opinion, whose advice do you follow?
A Living Sword
We are engaged in a battle, even as duties, dishes, diapers or dilemmas surround us. This is not a battle that can be seen with our eyes; rather, it’s a battle for our hearts.
“The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:16).
When we immerse ourselves in the Bible, God is able to pierce through the obstacles in our heart and to show us exactly what we are.
The Apostle Paul wrote,
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12).
As we begin to spend time studying our Bibles, especially beginning with His instructions as given in the Torah, the Holy Spirit starts to reveal to us who we really are.
It’s not pretty! Often, as old wounds are re-opened by the Sword of God’s Word and as our inner spirits are pierced with conviction, we decide that knowing God is not worth the pain. Slam! Our Bibles are closed, and we head back to the world that will affirm us and bolster our shaky self-confidence.
Yet if we allow God’s Word to pierce our lives, the Ruach haChodesh (Holy Spirit) can win the battle of sin for us. He is stronger than the enemy, and with the mighty sword of His Word, He can create new life within. It’s a matter of choosing to let Him in.
Will you allow God’s Word to pierce your life? Here’s how you’ll know: When you don’t know what to do, do you open your Bible first of all, allowing His Spirit to do “open heart surgery” on you?
A Fire and a Hammer
God’s Word is all-powerful.
Sometimes I’m distressed when I see my friends falling prey to seemingly innocent “prophets” who appear to have all the answers. “I know what I’m talking about! I’m an expert – listen to me!” they cry. I feel like shaking my friends and shouting, “Wake up! Don’t let yourselves be fooled!”
Yet God comforts me when He reminds me of the power of His Word against those who would teach that we don’t have to obey God.
“‘I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, “I had a dream! I had a dream!” How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship. Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?’ declares YHVH. ‘Is not my word like fire,’ declares YHVH, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
“‘Therefore,’ declares YHVH, ‘I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. Yes,’ declares YHVH, ‘I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, “YHVH declares.” Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,’ declares YHVH. ‘They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,’ declares YHVH” (Jeremiah 23:25-32).
He tells us to continue to speak His Word faithfully. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to become distressed by the apparent success of those who deny the truth of God.
His Word is like a fire that can separate senseless chaff from valuable wheat. His Word is like a hammer that can penetrate hearts that look like stone.
We can have utter trust in God’s Word, that it will accomplish what God sent it forth to do.
Do desperate world events and wicked public opinion shake your world? Here’s how you’ll know: Do you know specifically which verses to turn to for comfort even when “the bad guys” seem to be winning?
An Everlasting Seed
One of the most exciting things about allowing God’s Word to enter our hearts is the new life that begins to sprout within us. Peter wrote,
“For you have been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because
‘All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
But the word of YHVH endures forever’” (1 Peter 1:23-25)
Later Peter writes,
“If these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Master Yeshua the Messiah” (2 Peter 1:8).
God promises us a fruitful and fulfilling life when we align our lives by the principles found in God’s Word. This is an enduring, eternal life — we will enjoy its benefits forever.
Just knowing this makes me want to pledge to be more faithful in my Bible study, to be more consistent in the disciplines of knowing God. I want to claim the promise of God that meditating on His Word and observing to do all He’s written in it will give me have true prosperity in His eyes.
The Word is a seed. When I receive it and allow it to be implanted in my heart, new life comes out! As author Brad Scott writes in his book, The Principle of the Seed, this isn’t new; this is just true. Just as apple seeds make apples, and pomegranate seeds make pomegranates, and the seed of a man makes new babies, the Seed (Word) of God never fails to bring forth the fruit of God in our lives.
And here’s another thought. Women are born with a natural desire to be mothers, and I’ve certainly felt that tug to hold a newborn infant and care for it. I want to have “spiritual babies” also – people whose lives are changed by the living Word of God overflowing from my life. I don’t want to be barren! I want to share the peace and joy I’ve found in God, and I want to delight in my spiritual offspring for all eternity.
Are you a fruitful Christian? Here’s how you’ll know: Can you name several people whose lives have been changed because you shared God’s Word with them? (Yes, if you’re a mom, I hope you’ll name your own physical children first.)
Dear Abba Father, We thank You that You have revealed Yourself to us through the written Word of God. What a treasure we hold! We ask that as we open its pages and begin to read and then to obey, You will search our hearts and change us. Pry loose sin’s grip on us, and renew our minds in the knowledge of You. Give us Your true wisdom. Help us to overflow into the lives of others, making a lasting difference in this world. HalleluYah! In Yeshua’s name we pray, Amen.