…how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:15-17
As a teenager I felt called into the ministry. Forty-two years ago this month I had a deep spiritual encounter with God during a Sunday evening worship service in my home church. A few weeks earlier during our youth camp I had felt called into ministry, but youth camp decisions are often passed off as emotional moments, perhaps not to be taken all that seriously. With me, however, it was the real thing, yet when September came around and school had started back I had to search deeper in my heart about this entire matter of vocational ministry. So God set up a moment of clarity for me, and I prayed during the entire service – I have no idea what the topic of the sermon was that Sunday evening, I was in a personal conversation with God.
God helped me realize that night that I needed three things that I did not really have in order to enter into ministry, all three were “love” issues: I needed a deeper love for God; I needed a deeper love for His Word; and I needed a deeper love for people. So I prayed through those issues that night until I had a personal victory, and then for the second time in a few weeks I went forward during the invitation and shared with my church that God was calling me into ministry.
I believe God led me at that time from a basic knowledge of His Word I had gained in church, to grasp the importance of those three basic loves, and although I was just a teenager then, I have been guided throughout my life by the importance of those thoughts. They seem to me to have become more meaningful and more profound through the years. And these apply to all believers, not just to preachers. Three essential matters we need to take to our hearts if we are to be who God has called us to be: love God; love His Word; love people.
It is my prayer that we might come as a church to embrace these three matters. Loving the word of God means accepting its truth – it is God-breathed – and living out and sharing its message. The psalmist wrote, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11) and “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105). Jesus prayed to the Father for us on the night of His betrayal and arrest, “Sanctify them by the truth: your word is truth,” then He added, “As you have sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:17-18). Like Christ the Son, we have the word of God to stand upon and this divinely given knowledge of the truth sets us apart from the rest of the world.
Without the word of God we have only our good intentions and opinions to offer one another and the world. With the word of God we have His truth that brings knowledge of salvation and restores hope to humanity. We must love it, believe it, study it, and share it.
Today, would you recommit yourself to accepting the truth of God’s word? Would you say to God, “Thank You Lord for Your Word. As I love You, so I love Your Word. I re-commit myself to know its truth and to live out its message as You guide me and empower me.”
Lord, let us love You and Your Word in our hearts. Create within our souls a hunger for your Word, and give us confidence in the Bible. Guide us in our understanding, application, and teaching, that we may bring glory to You. Amen.