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.
What sorts of things find their way into your heart and mind? If you’re exposing yourself to a constant barrage of ungodly words, music, or images, you’re not taking full responsibility for your life. On the other hand, you can fill your heart and mind with words, music and images not contrary to God’s Word. When you do this, you’ll create a natural defense against some of the evil messages the world so frequently sends your way.
The writer of Psalm 119 declared, ‘I have tried my best to find you’don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you’. Now, ‘hiding’ God’s Word in your heart essentially means memorizing and meditating on passages of Scripture. God uses his Word’the Bible’to speak to you and show you how to live.
You’ve been given the responsibility to guard your heart and to keep track of the things you hide inside it. So, what’s in your heart? Anger? Lust? Inappropriate images from the web? Are you harboring bitterness? Greed? Are you envious of others? If you’re struggling with these things maybe it’s because you have more of the world’s so-called wisdom in your heart than the true wisdom of God.
Are you having a hard time finding God and following his commands? Try hiding God’s word in your heart. It will help you guard against those things that hurt you and displease God.
When we receive an email or letter from a good friend, we usually find ourselves doing two things: first, we read the letter with eager anticipation, hanging on every word; and second, we read the letter over and over again, hoping each time to gain insight into, and intimacy with, it’s author. The same should be true with regard to God’s Word, for in it we find a message directed to us by One who loves us. And by reading that message intently and repeatedly, we can know the One we delight in truly and more accurately.
In Psalm 119:105, David likens Scripture to a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. Men, the Bible is our map or instruction manual to godliness, and we need to keep it close by and read it often. Otherwise, we’ll find ourselves walking in darkness. And if that happens, we’re sure to stumble and fall.
Furthermore, how badly we stumble and how hard we fall will likely be proportionate to how long it’s been since we’ve feasted on God’s Word. King David knew this truth, so in Psalm 119:103 he exclaims to his beloved Lord, ‘How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’
Like David before us, we need to feast lovingly, enthusiastically, and consistently upon God’s Word. Just as you need physical food in order to sustain your body, you also need spiritual food to sustain your soul.