One of my greatest pleasures comes from dusting off those "hidden treasures" within the pages of the Word. Through life's twists and turns, I was in search of some major help and big answers. So, as 2014 began, I issued a challenge over Facebook & Twitter for those who would resolve to walk through the Bible with me one time through this calendar year. Nearly 100 people signed up, but over the course of 3 weeks, that triple digit number dwindled down to less than 10 active viewers on our Facebook accountability group.
I too struggled to keep up with this "rigorous schedule" of multiple chapters a day. I mean, who really has time to read the pages of God's word for more than our typical 15 minute allotment, or that 30 second "Word on the Way" from K-LOVE? As I evaluate, I find that if you do not have enough time to listen to God, you are doing more things than God wants you to be doing in a day.
Even though my head grasps this fact, the endless genealogies and regulations from Genesis on through Deuteronomy really bogged me down! As a preacher, my job description requires evaluation of God's Word with intent to expository expound some sort of outlined principles each week. I was evaluating Scripture passages by their ability to be broken down and masterfully reworded rather than searching out the face of the master. How are these lists going to help me solve my daily problems? In what way does that genealogy relate to my practical life? God began to uncover some equal signs through the book of John that would forever change my approach to daily devotions.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
GOD = WORD | WORD = GOD
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
WORD = TRUTH | TRUTH = WORD
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.
TRUTH = GOD | GOD = TRUTH
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Knowing truth makes free.
I could continue on, verse after verse, where God equivocates himself with truth and his word. From these statements, I can surmise that there is no truth outside of God and his Word. Every truth in life will line up perfectly with that Word. No word from THE WORD will conflict with God and truth, because God and truth are so intertwined that they are one in the same. GOD = WORD = TRUTH.
Understanding these equivalents dramatically changes the way I can view a devotional time. For when I open the pages of God's Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit I am gazing into the very heart of God. Every word of God is pure and intentional beyond our understanding. That which we skimmed as inapplicable and removed from modern practicality leads us to a deeper understanding of our Lord and Savior. Freedom from sin's bondage is not found in a practical book of principles. John 8:32 indicates "knowing truth" makes us free.
You see, this word "know" translates from Greek ginosko as more than a perceived knowledge, but rather a personally acquainted relationship. Ginosko is translated hundreds of times in reference to intimacy between a married couple. For the Christian and unbeliever alike, freedom is found in "getting to know" He who IS Truth by uncovering the Word that is Truth. A simple head-knowledge of practical truth cannot make free. Otherwise, every member passing through AA would find immediate freedom. As my relationship with Jesus Christ develops, HE MAKES ME FREE. Friend, if you are searching for freedom, shift your focus as you search the pages of Scripture. Do not open your Bible with the intent to find the magic verse to solve your problems....THE BIBLE IS NOT A SELF-HELP BOOK. Begin each devotional time with prayer asking, "Father, please show me your face, hand, and heart in these passages. May your Holy Spirit direct my thoughts and heart as I find you in these pages."