Of all the people I’ve known in my life that walked faithfully with God there have been common threads woven together at the core of their lives. The desire to know Jesus better, the desire to live an obedient life and a desire to better understand the Bible by spending time reading the Bible. These three threads, when woven together, make a person strong. Leave one out and the mixture is weak. Like water without coffee beans. It may do you good but it leaves you desiring more (maybe it’s just me!)
Thread One: The desire to know Jesus better is a lifelong journey. He reveals Himself to us in so many ways and in ways we often don’t expect or sometimes desire. Yet these people I’ve seen live faithfully are always on the lookout. They put themselves in places where Jesus might speak to them. Richard Foster said there is nothing magical about spiritual disciplines, all we are doing is placing ourselves in position where God has our attention.(a rough paraphrase) A desire to know Jesus includes disciplines but it requires a heart and mind that seeks Jesus. (Philippians 3:10)
Thread Two: A desire to live obedient comes from knowing Jesus more fully. When I was in the military there was always someone who out ranked me. Someone who called the shots. No matter who was above me, there was always someone above them. We were careful to be obedient because there was often much at stake. The fact that I was a subordinate to someone determined my life’s course. The stripes on my arm let everyone know where I stood and where those around me stood. The more I know of Jesus the more I hope to be obedient in every area. The faithful men and women I’ve known were those who looked for Jesus and then were obedient in that relationship. Jesus called to shots. Everything about their lives was an indicator that they were in a relationship with a Higher Ranking Individual. It wasn’t enough to just say they know Him. They were subordinate to Him. (2 Timothy 2:1-7)
Thread Three: A desire to know what the Bible says and spend time reading it, studying it and thinking about it was always evident in the faithful. Some of these men and women taught and lead in obvious ways. Others oozed wisdom. And in that wisdom God’s Word flowed. They had spent hours, days and in some cases, years reading through the pages of Scripture. Always learning, relearning and growing in their understanding of the Bible. Absent was arrogance. Present was a worn Book. This is the hardest of the three in many ways. With a full schedule already how can we dig deeper? You have to be intentional. You have to be dedicated to the effort and anticipate the obstacles and the results. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
All three of these are vital and much more can be said about each one. I have known people that have desired to know Jesus but haven’t let that desire influence their calendar. And they wonder why they don’t grow, or get used by Him, or see His work. I have known people who seek to be obedient and do good works and feel empty because they are trying to earn Jesus’ love when He already loves them. The works may be good but they don’t fill the emptiness. I’ve known people that have studied the word and have become knowledgable in a book but not in relation to the One who inspired it. All three threads are vital.
This year in our church we are encouraging all three threads. The one we can talk about the easiest, perhaps, is spending time in God’s Word. We have a Bible Reading Plan that we are using (adapted from several I have used in the past) that will be discussed briefly each week on Wednesday nights and some of the messages on Sunday mornings will come from that week’s readings. There are so many options to dig into God’s word. We pray that you’ll be a part of growing in your relationship with Jesus along with us!