Recently, I was talking to some brothers in Christ, and we were talking about how important it is to be in God’s word. During the course of the conversation, one of the brothers stated, matter-of-factly, “You can tell a person who is in the word daily, and who is not. There is less “I feel” and “I think” and more “This is what God’s word says, and that’s how I make my decisions.” That same day, another brother was speaking of his home country of Kenya, and states that in his area, what really is a problem is the lack of Biblical knowledge and intimacy. That struck me hard! Granted, I’m in God’s word every day (I’m not saying this to boast, I’m just stating a fact), but it hit me hard that many things people who profess to be Christians say they believe wouldn’t even come from their mouths if they searched the Bible with any depth or love for Christ. The “I think” and “I feel” statements don’t come from God or the Holy Spirit: they come from our flesh which is at war with our Spirit.
Jesus was intimate with the word of God. The Apostles grew up in a culture where they learned Moses and the Prophets from the cradle, but the writings were limited to reading rooms in synagogues. We live in an age where we have Bibles on our phones that can read the word to us, but we can’t be bothered! Is it a wonder that we don’t understand God’s will for us, and are instead led astray by our hearts? (By the way, the prophet Jeremiah, 17:9, says that our hearts are desperately wicked and can’t be trusted!) Pau warns the Ephesians that a lack of maturity like this will make us like a ship without an anchor: tossed about by the wind and waves of every doctrine, by schemes, and human cunning (see below). This is a dangerous place to be! Where God is concerned, what you want is irrelevant. Jesus taught His disciples to pray “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done,” and “give us this day our daily bread,” (Matthew 6:5-15), which tells us that we need to ask God’s will be done, and that as far as we’re concerned, we need to ask only for what we need to get through the day (hint, Jesus is the bread from heaven, which is referenced in that prayer!). If we want to grow in Christ, we need to be in the Word. If we want to mature in Christ, we have to stop resisting the Spirit of God, and let the Word transform our lives, conforming us in to God’s image.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.