Should We Live By The Book?

This morning Larry Shallenberger (@LShallenberger on Twitter) Tweeted this post “Do We Annoy God By Using the Bible to Solve All Our Problems?” He introduces his post this way,

“Is it okay for a pastor to wonder if the way we handle the Bible dosen’t make God grind his teeth a bit?” 

His question and the post in general got me thinking about the question. Actually I am always thinking about the question. It occurs to me that after the question about God we have all faced, that the question about what the Scripture means to us, and for us, is THE question. The question we must answer.

In the first chapter of his book “Living by The Book” Dr. Howard G. Hendricks makes a remarkable statement,

“The Bible was written not to satisfy your curiosity but to help you conform to Christ’s image. Not to make you a smarter sinner but to make you like the Savior. Not to fill your head with a collection of Biblical facts but to transform your life.”

This statement resonates with me. For I see in the Scripture the certainty that, “We are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NASB) From this and all the rest of the Scripture it seems that this is our Father in Heaven’s primary goal toward human kind, that we should be conformed into the likeness of Jesus, His Only Begotten Son.

So first, if you desire to live out of God’s plan for your life you will want to live the life you live by the “Book.” There are so many reasons for this but for our purposes here I am going to share what Dr. Hendricks says on the matter.

“Bible Study Is Essential To Growth.” “As newborn babies long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2)

“Bible Study Is Essential To Spiritual Maturity.” “Concerning (Christ) we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for some one to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For every one who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:11-14)

“Bible Study Is Essential To Spiritual Effectiveness” “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Dr. Hendricks’ three Essentials show us the necessity of Scripture “Self-Study.”

Then as we look at the Scripture further we see in Romans chapter 8 verses 12 through 17 we read the following;

“So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”  

We can see here that while we may still find ourselves living according to the flesh it is unprofitable for us to do so. To gain the life God intends for us, His adopted children, we need live by the Spirit. And I say to you and to myself (everyday) He Himself makes this possible for us to do.

For us, who live in an age where the Scripture is readily available to us we have “The Book” to give us ready access to the life transforming truth which is Jesus. We see that we will profit as we receive in ourselves this gift of God for our Spiritual development. While it is possible to receive the saving work of Jesus and His Father on our behalf without access to the Scripture, we who have access have been blessed beyond measure.

The Bible is valuable treasure for us as we labor to “solve” our spiritual “problems.” As we dive deeply into the Scripture’s substance we are changed, day-by-day from glory-to-glory!

How do the Scriptures stack up as a resource for “solving” the other “problems” we face as we live in the world? Well I am going to save most of my thoughts on this subject for another day. However Dr. Hendricks and Jesus both have something to say on the matter.

First, Prof Hendricks, “…you are either in the Word and the Word is conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ, or you are in the world and the world is squeezing you into its mold.”

Now our Lord, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NASB95)

If we live and “solve” our problems and face our trials with the methods of the world we will get the results of the world.

If on the other hand we rely on the Scripture and trust in Jesus, living our lives in Him we will see God’s solutions for the “problems” we face.

This latter is not our natural way to live. But thanks be to God WE HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN IN CHRIST JESUS. We have been “born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:13  And He is our ever present help in time of need. We no longer live in the natural, but, “ is Christ who lives in us.” Galatians 2:20

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;

From where shall my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,

Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to slip;

He who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, He who keeps Israel

Will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;

The Lord is your shade on your right hand.

The sun will not smite you by day,

Nor the moon by night.

The Lord will protect you from all evil;

He will keep your soul.

The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in

From this time forth and forever.  Psalm 121:1-8

Have a beautiful day in the Lord.

Robert Curtis – Activist, The Ichthysgeneration – Santa Rosa Beach Florida 

About ichthysgeneration

I am part of the generation of those who have sold out "their" lives to Jesus Christ. He is alive and wants us to live as He lives, doing the things Our Heavenly Father, Creator of the Universe and Man, asks us to do. On this journey I am a husband to Vicky, and a father to Carter Samuel Curtis. Our family lives an exciting life telling others about how Jesus has changed our focus and given us freedom and great joy. Vicky and I are on staff at a large church and right now Carter is a 2nd grader. We like to ride bikes, take walks, play at the beach, mess with computers, have long talks, study wildlife, read and listen to all kinds of music. Carter enjoys making up songs and drawing masterpieces. Carter and I are fascinated with the "wild west" and get to "play" Texas Rancher a couple of times a year. Vicky is the perfect wife and does a very convincing act of liking it as she encourages our antics. I have a passion for listening to the living Jesus as he relates the riches of His (and our) Father's wisdom and love to all humanity. By His being born among us, His death on the cross and His resurrection into new life, which we may share with Him, He has provided all we need for an incredible journey. I hope you are excited about joining with us and making yourself known as part of "The Icthuse Generation" on the great road!
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