Do you have a treadmill sitting in your garage collecting dust while your body is losing its edge? The same might be true in your spiritual life. You spiritual health is sagging while the very thing that's designed to keep you fit lies unused and dusty. Now ask yourself....can you picture yourself being a healthy, vibrant, joyful, christian...refreshed in God’s grace – no lingering or low-grade guilt – less and less fear about the opinions of others – not feeling desperately like you have to control everything – anxieties are fewer and smaller - temptations come but you are actually winning a few – trials come but you are actually bearing up, there is even some joy through it all – more ready for opportunities that God keeps bringing into your life – life is getting more adventurous – you are even willing to take a few risks – you are getting more bold – praying more – more answers to prayer?
We have been in this series on the importance of the Scriptures. We are all challenged to stay spiritually sharp, and the main way we do that is knowing and applying God's Word to our lives. The staggering truth we meditated on in this past Sunday's message was the reality that we serve a God who communicates with us and he has done this through his Word. The more we understand that the Scriptures tell us of themselves that they are the very words of God. Communication is critical to relationship, and God has initiated relationship by giving us his Word. Not only that but we need to understand that God speaks clearly. Think about it.....If God speaks, do you think he wants to be understood? That's what the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture means. When God speaks he does so in a way we can all understand the essence of what he wants to say. That doesn't mean that there are some aspects of Scripture that can be more difficult to understand than others, but that the essential message of the Scriptures are clear. God speaks...we listen...the Holy Spirit helps us understand and apply it to our lives.
Once we realize this we must confront the fact that all of us are interpreters. We were created that way by God. The only question will be what kind of interpreters are we going to be? When it comes to Holy Scripture we must apply certain principles to interpret accurately. We need to let Scripture interpret Scripture. The explicit must interpret the implicit. We need to take the literal sense of what is being said. We first ask the question "What did the author mean?" and "What did the original hearers understand him to mean?" before we ask "What does that mean for me?". We need to have a view to apply what we read and interpret. These are just some to the things that, without which, we will not interpret Scripture properly and can end up getting off in our interpretation and if we do that we will apply it wrongly.
Finally we must realize that without the Holy Spirit making it real to us, it will just be words on a page. Anyone can read and naturally understand the printed words on the page to some degree, but without the Holy Spirit we will not be changed. Just as God produced the Word in the first place, he is the one who makes it possible for us to receive it. Are we seeing and acknowledging the place of the Word of God in our lives? Are we receiving it....bowing before it...resting in its promises? Do we read it with and awareness this is God speaking and he is making his words and will very clear? If we do we can actually experience the spiritual health and vitality we were meant to have!
Some questions for discussion:
1. What does it mean that Scripture is essentially clear?
2. What is the state of your spiritual health right now?
3. How might consistent study and application of the Scriptures help you?