Living the Word
God is doing things in me. I’m sure of it. My faith has transformed so drastically over this past year that I truly don’t even recognize the person that I was in Christ a year ago. My relationship with God has become something new, something transformed, something so much more authentic and vibrant than it used to be. Some days I just want to burst with gladness that He is teaching me so much, and that my heart has been opened to learning from Him.
And along with this, God has convicted the living daylights out of me. He’s impressed something upon me again, and again, and again, through the Bible, and through people at my church, and through various books about Christianity that I’ve been reading lately. I’ve come to realize that the strength and maturity of my Christian walk is not measured by how diligently I study his Word, or how often I meditate on His will, or how often I attend church, or how many sentences I string together about Him on this blog. The maturity of my Christian walk is measured by how well I love those around me who are most desperately in need of His love. That’s the whole purpose of this Christianity thing. To love. To be so enveloped with the confidence of God’s love for me and my love for God that it melts into every aspect of my life.
We Christians—myself included—are terribly good at reading Scripture selectively. We jump all over 2 Timothy 3:16, quote it and memorize it and use it to justify our idea of Biblical authority. Yet we aren’t too great at remembering 2 Timothy 3:17, which reminds us of the entire purpose of why we have faith that the Bible is inspired by God to begin with. Why? So that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work!!! That’s the point of it all! The entire purpose of reading the Bible and praying and going to church and…all of it! The purpose is so we can do great acts of righteousness in God’s name, and be people in whom Christ’s light shines so strongly that everyone around us sees little Christs, Christs-in-progress. In his marvelous book, The Blue Parakeet, Scot McKnight summarizes this idea wonderfully:
Any reading and any interpretation [of the Bible] that does not lead to good works, both as a practical application and as the behavioral result, aborts what the Bible is designed to produce.
Wow. How’s that for a good dose of conviction.
So I’ve committed myself to letting my words and my actions be as deep a reflection of my devotion to God as my Scripture reading, prayer time, meditation, and church attendance. I’m going to serve, and try to be a vessel of love for those around me. I’m going to try to be more patient with those who anger me, and more compassionate toward those who are down-and-out, and more gracious toward those who I don’t understand. I’m going to take 2 Timothy 3:17 seriously, and instead of just reading the Word, I’m going to do my very best to surrender to the strength of God and, through Him, LIVE the Word.