February 1st, 2023 - Scripture


Good morning! As we prepare to hear from the Lord this morning, take a moment to stop, calm your mind and your body, quiet your racing thoughts of what you have to do today, and spend time inviting the presence of God to come. Ask Jesus to meet with you in these moments and to speak truth to the depths of your heart. Ask him to change you to become more like him.
Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit we invite you into this space right now. Lord, would you come and meet with us today? Stop any design of the Enemy to cause distraction or doubt as we focus on the truth of your Word, and do the work in us that you need to do to make us more like Jesus.

Today we will focus on the practice of studying Scripture, and we will be reading from 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (NLT)

2 Timothy 3:16-17 is a powerful passage that speaks to the power and purpose of Scripture in our lives. Scripture is a gift from God to us; His words, written through human authors inspired by His Spirit, to show us what God is like so that we can see ourselves with the correct perspective. So often, we confuse Scripture as being a book about us–about what rules we need to follow, or about what we need to do or change to be “better”--but, Scripture is really a book about God! It is the story of God’s perfect creation of all things for his glory and man in his image and the story of the subsequent fall of man and the brokenness of creation and man’s relationship with him. It tells of the redemptive promise of God after the fall, and the redemptive plan that He enacts through one family–the descendants of Abraham. It centers upon the ultimate work of Christ on the cross, points us toward the pursuit of sanctification–the process of becoming more like Jesus–and encourages us toward the ultimate restoration of creation, when God will establish a new heaven and new earth! Scripture is a treasure that we have the privilege of studying all of our days on earth, so that we will more deeply know the One we will be with for eternity; the study of Scripture is really a study of God! Jen Wilkin says that “the heart can’t love what the mind doesn’t know;” we fall more deeply in love with the Lord when we submit our minds to deep, consistent study of His Word.
Because Scripture is given by God and about God, it is useful to “teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong.” It corrects us when our thoughts, words, and actions are in error. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 in the Message says that Scripture is useful for “showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us”

It helps us to discern Truth from lies of the enemy, exposes the weakness of our flesh for what it is, in light of the power of the Spirit. Hebrews 4:12 reminds us 12 “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12, NLT) The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God to guide us into Truth, transforming our minds and hearts to be more like Christ’s.
Scripture doesn’t just tell us about who God is and correct and direct us, it prepares and equips us for what God has called us to do. So we must make a practice of studying Scripture–to know God more closely, and to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. D.L. Moody said “I never saw a useful Christian who was not a student of the Bible.” Studying Scripture may seem overwhelming and intimidating, but beginning the journey of becoming a student of God’s Word is as easy as 1) picking a time, 2) a place, and 3) a plan. You won’t wake up tomorrow magically looking more like Jesus, you must intentionally devote yourself to the pursuit of God through the Truth of His Word and surrender to the transforming power of His Spirit.
Are you a student of God’s Word? Do you consistently see the Spirit of God making you more like Jesus as a result of making a practice of studying Scripture? What keeps you from studying Scripture? The enemy would love nothing more than to distract you from the life-giving power of the Word of God in your life. Today, ask the Lord what next steps you need to take to make a practice of studying the Bible. Is he asking you to begin studying Scripture for yourself for the first time? Perhaps he’s asking you to ask another believer to mentor you in the study of Scripture, to begin memorizing Scripture, or to begin a study in Scripture as part of a small group. Do you need to pick a time, a place and a plan? Maybe you are an early riser, and you can devote time each morning to the study of Scripture. Perhaps you are a mother of little ones; maybe you can devote the kids’ naptime as your time to meet with the Lord in His Word. It is less about when you study and more about consistently meeting with the Lord and allowing Him to transform you with His Truth. Pick a place where you can be alone and quiet before the Lord, maybe your porch or your office; maybe play some worship music, or leave your phone in another room. Do whatever necessary to create an environment that intentionally ushers in the presence of the Lord. Then, pick a plan: consider reading about the life of Christ through the book of John over the next month. Browse the Bible Study plans on YouVersion.com and choose one to begin today. Don’t miss deeper intimacy with the Lord by hearing His invitation and choosing not to obey.
Once you have spent a moment thinking about the Lord’s invitation to spend daily time in His Word, yield to Him any obstacles that have previously kept you from consistent study of Scripture. Ask Him to make you more like Jesus through the power of His Living Word.
Pray: God, thank you for the gift of your Word; help me to approach it daily as the treasure that it is. Use it for the purpose you designed for it–to show me more of Yourself and to correct me and train me to live Your Way. May I hide Your Word in my heart so that I might not sin against you. Help me align my heart and my life to the Truth of Your Word, and make me more like Jesus by the power of Your Spirit. Amen