PC-USA 1997-07-04 - It's For Your Own Good!

Hi everyone.First let me say I hope you all have a safe and fun 4th!

In my devotional last week on everyday worship, I said that we need to have a personal Bible study time or devotional time on a daily basis, and that The Bible is to be in our hearts and minds at all times, so that it can influence everything we do and say. I reminded us that we won't be close to God, or faithful at obeying Him, unless we are in His Word every day. I would like to talk a little more about that.

By the way, writing this devotional has been an educational experience for me! As I was thinking about it, I was wondering "How can I make them understand how vital daily Bible-reading is? How can I convince them what a change it can make in their lives?" Then suddenly the thought occurred to me: "I can't! That is God's job! I am NOT the Holy Spirit!" : )

We are to read the Word regularly in church:

1 Tim 4:13 (NRSV) Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching.

Yet we are to read it personally every day, also:

Psa 143:8 (NRSV) Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

If you are like me, you detest that phrase "It's for your own good." I hate to hear myself saying it, and I have not been too fond of hearing it, either! I am about to say it now! We should read the Bible every day, to learn about God, and also because what we read influences our words, thoughts and behavior. I'm sure you have heard this" GIGO: Garbage in; garbage out. The reverse is true, also! We reap benefits from studying the Word. It truly is for our own good!

Reading the Bible strengthens us in our spirits:

Psa 119:28 (NRSV) My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

Knowledge of the Bible -- which comes from regular reading -- gives us a foundation of hope.

Psa 119:43 (NRSV) Do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your ordinances.

Familiarity with the Bible is necessary in order for us to deploy it as a weapon to help us win battles of spiritual warfare:

Eph 6:17 (NRSV) Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

We are to turn to the Bible to learn from it, and to ready us for good works:

2 Tim 3:16-17 (NRSV) All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

Dear Father, please help us to get and / or stay in the habit of reading your holy Word every day. Give us a desire for it, a love for it, an enthusiasm for it. Use it to bear spiritual fruit in our lives. In Jesus' name, amen.