God’s Word

Steve Arterburn

Not only do you search God’s Word, but it searches you.  Not only do we seek to understand God’s Word, but we need to stand under its authority.

As you read the Bible, you may be tempted to draw back from it soul-searching power.  You may argue with its teaching, resent its discipline, or question its assertions.  But these reactions simply alert you to the fact that God is searching you heart.  At times like these, spiritual renewal comes as you stop and examine not only God’s Word but also your response to it.  

Why are you feeling upset when you’re challenged?  Why is the Bible affecting you in a particular way?  What specific attitudes or behaviors is it addressing?  How does the teaching of God’s Word differ from your way of living?  Questions like these can move you beyond impulsive reactions to spiritually productive reflection.  The psalmist wrote, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life’ (Psalm 139:23-24). That’s a pretty brave prayer, isn’t it?

When you surrender your resistance, you find the grace of Jesus Christ sustaining you.  The very Word that exposes your sin also reveals the remedy for that sin’Jesus, your great High Priest.  Through him you find mercy that removes your sin and power that works through your weakness.

Hope For Change

Steve Arterburn

Simon the fisherman was reckless, vacillating, and often thoughtless.  He friends could probably think of some apt nicknames for him, but I doubt any of them came close to what Jesus called him: Peter, which means ‘Rock.’  What greater evidence could there be that Jesus accepted Simon as he was but also had a vision for the man he’d become?  And what an amazing transformation took place in that burly fisherman!

Most men can readily identify with Simon Peter.  His intentions were usually good, but he was impetuous in speech and impulsive in action.  When Jesus revealed that his divine mission would involve a painful death, Peter rashly told Jesus to stop talking that way.  At the last supper he brazenly objected to Jesus washing his feet.  When Jesus was arrested he cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant.  And we all know how he denied knowing Jesus three times.

Later in Simon Peter’s life, however, we see what Jesus saw when he called him ‘Rock.’  He was used by God to perform miracles, he preached publicly about Jesus despite opposition, and exhibited strong leadership in the early church.  

In Simon Peter’s life we see hope for our spiritual renewal and transformation.  He wasn’t perfect, but he grew in his life in Christ and God used him to have a profound effect on the world.  

Jesus has the power to transform even the most unlikely people.  Keep this in mind for yourself and for others.

Exaltation Through Humility

Steve Arterburn

Men, Jesus Christ is first and foremost the object of our faith. He’s also our primary example of what the life of faith looks like.

 

For instance, consider Christ’s humility’particularly the way He relinquished His will to the Father. Philippians chapter two says our attitude should be the same as His. Though He was truly God, He didn’t demand or cling to His rights as God. Instead, He made Himself as nothing. In His incarnation and life on earth, He took the humble position of a suffering servant. He lived in perfect obedience, yet died a criminal’s death on a cross.

And because of this humility, the Father raised Christ from death to sit at His right hand’a position of absolute honor, glory, and power.

But whatever you do, don’t miss the progression: Jesus’ humiliation preceded and precipitated His exaltation. Humility was a key element in Jesus’ life as He accomplished the Father’s will for fallen humanity.

If we’re to surrender to God and His will for us, we need to be humble as well. Jesus didn’t pray solely for His own will. He humbly prayed for His Father’s will to be done. We, too, ought to pray, ‘Father, I want your will, not mine.’ Men, this is the mark of humility and the beginning of real spiritual renewal.