|"The more time you spend in the Word, the more you will benefit from it."|
WE READ THINGS WRONG. Is the glass half-empty or half-full? Is it a leaky bucket, or is that hole to water the ground beneath it? Our human understanding is limited by our knowledge, our acceptance of what we hear, and our willingness to set aside our point-of-view and learn. Many people could go on to do great things in certain realms of influence, but they are not willing to change their pattern of behavior in order to go there. (We are not talking likes and dislikes here but personal hang-ups. I hate watermelon. I dislike crowds. The one is something I will never get over. It tastes bad. The other I sometimes have to overcome.)
Jesus faced the Jews, and especially the religious leaders, daily. There He stood, their Messiah, prophesied in their Scriptures, and they could quote the Scriptures to you but didn’t recognize Him. The most powerful example of this comes when they accused him before Pilate. They refused to enter the judgment hall because it would defile them for the Passover. Jesus WAS the Passover. While eating the Passover Lamb, they crucified the Passover Lamb.
Deception runs rampant. People believe the most inane, incorrect things. They are sincere in what they believe, but wrong in the truth of it. A man can go outside every day and call the sky green. He can believe it’s green and confess it’s green, but the sky will always be blue. We must first accept we could be in error in order to read the Word and gain correct understanding. Jesus is the Healer of the mind and the body, but there are those who don’t believe it. There are those who don’t believe there are apostles and prophets today. We have created doctrines and denominations based on incorrect beliefs we are willing to defend.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
We read the Word of God in order to renew our mind and change our thinking, and a change of thinking only comes when we determine to listen and lay down offense in favor of revelation. Do you read to defend yourself or to repent of misbelief? If a child thinks he hates mushrooms, but you have decided he might eat them fried. When you force him to try one, he will not like it but defend his right to refuse. Similarly, someone who denies there is a Savior cannot be force-fed John 3:16. What we resist, we will not learn. Learning implies an intake of information. We receive what we drink in, and it becomes alive to us. That new thing now fills out what we didn’t know or knew only in part. It replaces what we thought we knew.
Revelation comes to the heart of man, the spirit of man. It enters through the ears and sinks into our spirit, then comes up into the mind when we need it. Much like eating. We chew our food and swallow it. It goes into the digestive system where we cannot see it, but we know it’s there, and the nutrients of it then come up to the surface where they are needed in our body. Or if poisoned or rancid, we spew that food item out. And there are some things we will hear from others which we must recognize as error and spew them out. There are some things we have clung to which we need to get rid of quick. God is merciful. He corrects those He loves. Just say, “I’m sorry,” then ask Him for the truth. He is always, always looking to share truth. But don’t spend your time fighting for something you shouldn’t have eaten.
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
The more time you spend in the Word, reading and meditating on it, the more truth you will receive. To meditate means to mutter. It is something we chew on, thinking on it over and over until it becomes real to us. There are portions of the gospels I have read on repeat, and because I have spent so much time there, every time I read them now, there is fresh revelation. The more time you spend in the Word, the more you will benefit from it. The more you will hear the Spirit speaking and know His voice. He inspired the written Word, He conceived the living Word, Jesus, and they cannot be separated. To read the Word is to spend time with the Word, Jesus. Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice.” Put a loved one in a crowd and ask them to speak one-by-one, even with your eyes closed, you will know them from anyone else. By spending time reading the Word of God, you will recognize Him and there is no value one can place on that. Our hunger for Him must replace our criticisms, runaway emotions, and need for gossip.
The Word is life. Its principles are what causes our soul to prosper (3 John 1:2). Our desire to live a long, joyful life, to enjoy our family, to do well in business, is only fulfilled through time spent in the Word of God, time spent with the Spirit studying Jesus. In it, we learn how to act and react, how to respond, when to speak or when to hold silent like He did. We learn to love fully, to pray often, and worship Him only. He sets us the example of obedience to God’s voice. Him, who is God, submitted Himself to God and became all the truth we will ever need. Reading the Scriptures must be our lifestyle, and our time spent with God in the secret place, filling ourselves, as important and physical food. Because it is not simply the words on the page, nor a book of wise proverbs, but the very character and nature of a loving, generous God who now lives forever in us.
He who was raised from the dead is still speaking. The Word of God written over thousands of years is as alive today as it ever was. But we must be listening. Those who heard Jesus’ parables didn’t understand them because their minds only took in what was on the surface. The parable of the Sower was simply a nice story, instead of an example of their lives and what they were thinking. The seed planted was supposed to produce a harvest of revelation. Yet the very ones listening to the story were consumed by the distractions He described. Only when they could see themselves in the story would they truly hear His words. We are just as guilty. We can quote the verses but don’t seek more than what we initially read. We don’t seek the Man who is displayed in them.
In John 17, Jesus prayed for His disciples and those that believed on Him through their words to have the same unity with the Father that He had. He prayed they would be set apart from the world around them by the truth of His words, and in knowing His words, would behold His glory and be forever filled with His love. Reading the Word is about knowing the Word, and knowing the Word enables us to know the God who is the Word and who wrote the Word. And that is its purpose. Revelation is about relationship, and relationship is about blessing. Blessing sounds good in our ears, but it only comes to those who let the water of God’s truth wash them clean of all the debris of society and social pressures, of mistruths, and misunderstandings, because they are more in love with the Truthmaker than anything else.
Jesus said: “Settle their minds so fully and completely into the truth that nothing can ever move them from it—your word is truth.” (John 17:17 Remedy)
Suzanne D. Williams, Author