Truth for Trails and Trials
"Thus you will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it."
"And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life."
Our study in the book of Proverbs has focused on God's wisdom and goodness and how much better it is than worldly wisdom and evil. It points us to God's Word as the only way to discover God's wisdom and apply it to our lives. But just studying the Bible will not change your life. Only being obedient to the wisdom God gives in His Word will keep us from getting "cut off... torn from the land (God's Kingdom)."
There are many people (you have met some) who have studied all their lives and know a lot of scripture, but they do not practice what it says. They may have never even came to Jesus to claim Him as their Savior and Lord, especially the way that Jesus requires. They like the Savior part, but balk at the Lord part. But Jesus said it can't be one or the other.
Remember Luke 9:23?
"But if anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me."
This is the trail a Christian must walk daily in order to claim that they are followers of Christ; and failure to understand and practice this passage harms the cause of Christ in the Christian's life. And sadly the damage this inflicts doesn't end there. Many churches are filled with people with this dead spiritual condition. They keep the church in a constant state of dysfunction. This is then reflected in the impact the church has on the community it resides in and even beyond to include the entire world. If we as Christians do not read and practice scripture by regularly studying and diligently working to do what it teaches, then the world has nothing to follow. A. W. Tozer elaborates on this failure to walk the trail Jesus has for us and the effect it has on the world today, in days past, and will inflict damage in the days to come.
“One great concern I have is that many of today’s Christians are not taking the Word of God seriously. For whatever reason, the Scriptures do not have authority in the Christian’s life in the way that is necessary for him or her to live a life to the glory of God."
Dr David Jeremiah gives an overview of what the Bible teaches us and why we should take Bible reading seriously in our lives.
"We must take the Scriptures seriously because the Scriptures take the Lord seriously. We learn about Jesus through His Word: His eternal glory, His remarkable humanity, His infinite wisdom, His glorious resurrection, His current enthronement, His swift coming, and , His everlasting reign. By turning our eyes to the Bible, we’re turning our gaze to Him, and that changes the way we view the trails and trials of earth."
I love the use of "trails and trials" in this quote because often the excuse we tell ourselves for not studying and applying is that things are not perfect. There are trials in my life right now, I will wait until this is over and then get back to doing what the Bible teaches me to do day to day. But having this mindset will never work because Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble." Troubles and trials are a given in our world. But Jesus gives us a trail our of the trials if we will practice His teaching. He doesn't leave us dangling and wrangling with no way out. Jesus continued in John 16:33b, "But take heart! I have overcome the world!"
Read your Bible regularly and draw close to Jesus now. He has said there will be trials, but that is OK. He promises, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Take your Bible seriously and grow closer to Jesus so He can bring you comfort, direction, strength, joy, and peace. Pray for God to give you hunger for His Word. He will, but it is up to you to set the table and be ready.
A. W. Tozer "If we are going to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, we must start by taking the Bible seriously." - A. W. Tozer