How to respond to God’s word
Paul reminds us in his second book to Timothy that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” ( 3:16-17) The Word of God is meant to make a difference in our lives, bringing change that makes us more like Christ every time we read or hear it. In fact, the writer of Hebrews explains that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (4:12) So, the question is how do we respond in such a way that allows the Word of God to make a difference in our lives?
The answer points back to Second Timothy, where we are told to use the Bible for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. To make this simpler, I was corresponding with one of the leadership team who mentioned three questions to ask in response to a Scripture reading or a Sermon:
1. What is something new I have learned? It doesn’t seem to matter how often we read the Scriptures, there is always something new that the Holy Spirit reveals to us about history, God’s character or our faith journey. We need to reflect on what we have heard and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal this ‘new’ information or different perspective, and then ask ourselves what we should be doing about it. Why is God revealing this ‘new’ concept to me now?
2. What is something that challenged me? One of the words that the writers of the New Testament like to use is exhortation, which is a gentle, yet firm push in the right direction. The Word of God is always meant to challenge us to grow in our faith and become more like Jesus Christ. This is the process of sanctification, worked in us by the Holy Spirit and brought on by interaction with God’s Word and God’s people. Every time we read, study, or hear God’s Word, we need to ask ourselves what one thing that is challenging us, a change that we need to make in attitude or behaviour. What do I need to do because of what I just heard or read?
3. What is something that encouraged me? If we are constantly challenged, we can often get discouraged, thinking that we can never meet the standards God has set out for us. Therefore, God sends out hope and encouragement in His Word that motivates us to do the changes we have been challenged to make. So, as you read or hear God’s Word, ask yourself what is one thing that encourages you or gives you hope that you can continue to move forward in your faith. What helps you see that you are on the right track and not ‘spinning your tires’ when it comes to Christianity?
I pray that this helps you, so that you do not just listen to God’s Word, and then promptly forget it. Interaction is necessary for growth, and growth is necessary in true faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessings Pastor Richard Heppner April 22, 2020