the Word

Does the Bible Have Value Anymore?

In 1 John 2:14, the Apostle John identifies the three stages of spiritual maturity and how to move from one stage to the next when he wrote,

"I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one."

Because of this verse, I believe a disciple comes to maturity through these 4 stages:

  1. Born again - this is a phrase Jesus used when explaining salvation to Nicodemus in John 3:3.
  2. Little children - a little child is dependent on others to feed them.
  3. Young men - young men are independent and can feed themselves.
  4. Fathers - these are interdependent, have reproduced and take the responsibility of feeding others.

In the last number of blogs, I have been focusing on how to grow through the "little children" stage to the "young men" stage. John indicates that the identifiable characteristic of the "young men" is that they are strong and that their strength comes from the Word. This is consistent with what Jesus taught his disciples in John 8 when He said, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Again, it's the Word that makes disciples and it's the Word that brings freedom. It seems that across the board, believers are placing less value on the Word than they have in the past. I think this is a big mistake. If we are to grow up in Christ and become all that we are called to become, then we need to passionately indulge in the Bible, making it a major emphasis in our lives. Too many believers spend too little time in the Word and as a result we are too easily defeated by temptation and by the enemy. John said in 1 John 2:14 that when the Word of God lives in us, we will be able to overcome the evil one.

Here's What We Need to Do to Mature in the Word:

  1. Learn to speak the Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says,"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." The Word is profitable for living. Jesus spoke the Word when He was being tempted by the devil in Matthew 4. We must learn to do the same. This means memorizing the Word, so that we can speak it into our circumstances and to our temptations.
  2. Personalize it. Psalm 119:11 says, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." King David made the Word personal, when he deposited it into his own heart. We should do the same. Again, memorize.
  3. Pray the Word. The Bible has breakthrough promises all throughout it for every situation you will ever go through. When you pray God's written Word you are speaking His will and can therefore speak it with faith. Romans 10:17 says, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." An amazing resource every believer needs is Dr. Hazel Hill's book "Praying God's Word." In this powerful book, Dr. Hazel has placed scriptures together in categories and turned them into prayers you can pray over your specific need with confidence.
  4. Meditate on it. Joshua 1:8 says,"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success." I believe one of the best ways to meditate on the Word is to read it until you get a revelation. What do I mean? Sometimes we go through the motions and just read for the sake of reading or to stick to our reading plan. I'm not saying this is wrong, but what I am saying, is if you one verse or phrase sticks out to you and you get a revelation, stop reading and being pondering that verse. Chew on it for a day or more. Let it sink into your heart until you own that revelation.

We need to fall in love with the Word again. It is our key to maturing as disciples and to gaining the strength we need to overcome the evil one. Feed yourself by getting into the Word everyday.

Question: How often do you currently read the Word on your own? Leave a comment in the "Leave a Reply" box below.

When Prayer Won't Work

We all face temptation. And for many of us, there is nothing more frustrating than temptations we seemingly can't overcome. So, what do we do? I know the most predominate fall back is prayer. We use prayer as a prescription for illnesses that God never prescribed prayer to be the cure for. I have yet to meet a Christian, who came to me for counseling about a moral or character issue, that hadn’t already prayed about it.

But, God never designed prayer to be the primary tool for changing and redirecting our character. God offers renewal as that tool. Prayer won’t set you free, the Bible says the truth will set you free. Prayer won’t transform your life, a renewed mind transforms your life. I’m not against prayer, not at all. But when it comes to issues over our character and overcoming temptation, prayer is not the right tool. It was designed for other purposes. It's like trying to use a screw driver to hammer a nail. All you get is frustration.

We need to follow Jesus' example of how to overcome temptation, doing as He did in Matthew 4 when He was being tempted by the devil. Not once, in the entire story of His temptation, do we see Him crying out to God in prayer to rescue Him. No, instead He countered the specific lies the devil was feeding Him with specific truths from God's Word.

Behind every temptation is a specific lie that you are prone to believe. What we must do to overcome temptation is learn how to counter those specific lies with the specific truths from the Bible. In other words, prayer isn't the tool designed to overcome temptation, the Word is.

Let's read how Jesus did it:

Matthew 4:1-3 (NIV) 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

All of these temptations were a temptation to misuse His power.

What was the lie hidden in temptation #1? It was “Jesus, you have a right to meet your own needs, regardless of what God says.” The temptation was to use His power for His own benefit. It wasn't wrong for Him to turn a stone into bread. Only days later He would turn water into wine. What would be wrong is using His deity to benefit Himself.

How did Jesus counter this specific lie? He countered it with a specific truth from God’s Word.

Matthew 4:4(NIV) 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. This scripture emphasized the need to do only what His Father instructed Him to do. This verse gave Him the authority to say no to the temptation. If Jesus felt it necessary to respond to this temptation by quoting scripture, is it any wonder that we constantly give in to temptation when we try to pray our way out of it, or try to use our will power to overcome it?

Matthew 4:5-6 (NIV) 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

What was the lie hidden in Temptation #2? It was “Jesus, you need to prove yourself. You know who you are. I know who you are. But the world doesn't know who you are, yet.” Notice, Satan even quoted scripture this time and yet this whole thing was twisted around this central lie. Most of our temptations are wrapped around this lie, too. There is this inner drive to prove ourselves, make others notice us. Many of the mistakes we make is simply giving into this prideful temptation.

Once again Jesus counters with the Word.

Matthew 4:7 (NIV) 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

This time Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:16. This verse makes it very clear that obedience takes precedence over recognition.

Matthew 4:8-9 (NIV) 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

What was the lie hidden in temptation #3? It's another common temptation we all face, “You win through compromise and shortcuts.”

Matthew 4:10 (NIV) 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Jesus again, responds with Scripture that in essence says “nothing I gain through broken relationship with the Father is worth it.” And with that the devil gave up. Jesus won.

Question: Are you willing to take the time to so fill your mind and your heart with God’s Word that in a moments notice you could reply to any temptation with “it is written”?

Here are a list of scriptures and the lies they are designed to counter: scripture memory