How many folks proclaim to know and serve God, but seldom, if ever, read His Word for themselves? I've "lived" long enough to know there are many. No wonder most of our churches are in such a lukewarm state. Most of us are familiar with John 3: 16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." But what about Revelation 3: 16: "So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth." ???
Why is it important to know what is in God's Word? How many of us have ever really just stopped and thought about this? I do not think I really came to know how important it was, until I began to read it for myself. My grandmother had given me a real "adult" Bible for Christmas one year. All I had before that was the "Bible for Young Folks." It was more of a rewrite of stories and pictures. I was proud to have it, but quickly became annoyed by the "thees" and "thous" of this King James Bible. At the time, I didn't know there were others. Now, I am glad I didn't know that. But, that is another (rather long) story.
Upon entering nursing school in 1960, I took my Bible with me. It was my first year there, and after a while, I realized that I had not read from that Bible that I had made sure to bring with me. One night, I took that Bible and went out into the hallway (for I had two room mates, and wanted to be alone), sat down in the floor, opened it up, and began to fret about the language style in which it was written. I just had no desire to read that. But, I thought it may be something I needed to do. So, I prayed right then and there: "God, if reading this book is something You want me to do, then I ask you to please make me want to read it, because I have no desire to do so." And, right then and there, I began to develop the desire to do so. I became very interested in what I found there, even though the style aggravated me for many more years. The more I found things in that Book I had never heard before, and the more other things were confirmed there that I didn't see happening in most "Christians" I knew, the more interesting it became. I began to ask some questions that gradually led me on a journey, that I know I only survived by the Grace of God. I thank God for the desire He put in me to read His Word, for it was laying a foundation, the importance of which, I did not understand, until many years later. That is a story I hope to write someday. I did write an eleven page summary of that story, but it is lost on a dead laptop that cannot be revived. I saw many things in that book that I didn't see happening in others. Years later, when I gained more understanding, I didn't see a great many of them in happening in myself either. May I submit that it is ourselves for which The Book was written and compiled. If any of us do not get anything else, we need to get that. I am so glad that I finally did.
One may ask, "Why should I spend all that time reading, when I can just listen to preaching or just do what I feel is right?" Here is one scripture and one simple reason why not, for that question, and both of those options: 1. Listen to preaching: It is written in The Word, itself, "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." Timothy 2:15. Preachers are humans, the same as we are. Some are called of God, and some are not. Some are true shepherds. Some are true hirelings (in it for pay, power, respect, lip service, or whatever reason). Therefore, it is imperative for us to know, as individuals, what God said, and to seek out what He meant ..... for ourselves. 2. Do what I feel is right: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9 Do we even need to expound here? When there is no Ultimate Truth living within, all men do what is right in their own eyes. Any of us who are honest with ourselves can just look at the mess the world is in and say that way is just not working. I really feel that The Holy Spirit has been putting some things into perspective for me about this subject. I would like to share some of this with others, because I do not know how many of us have considered these things:
It is written: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." John 1: 1-2 If Jesus Christ is the Word, and we do not read the Word, then how can we say that we know Him? Who is He? He is The Word. So, what do we know of Him? What we have heard others say? Is that a good foundation? If we were blind and heard a voice saying, "Sit down quickly. There is a chair right behind you." Would we quickly sit down? First of all, how do we know who is speaking? How do we know they are speaking to us? How do we know there is a chair behind us? This may be a rather lame example, but surely you get the point. We need to know the God we serve. We need to know He is speaking to us. We need to know that He is Faithful and cannot lie, for He is The Truth. How can we know this from another? Do we take the word of a man who can lie, or of our Creator, who cannot lie? "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: has He said, and shall He not do it? or has He spoken,and shall He not make it good?" Numbers 23:19 "And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent." 1 Samuel 15:29
If even one person for whom Jesus died reads this and begins to see how important it is to read, study and know, The Word of God for oneself, or if one that already knows that truth, shares this message with others, my time here would have been well spent. May God put into your heart His desire for you to truly know Him, The Word of God.