John 5:38-40 “nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
People are strange. We get so stuck in our preconceptions that we can’t recognize God’s truth when it is right under our noses. You can read the Bible all you like, but if you aren’t ready to accept the person and work of Jesus Christ you aren’t going to get eternal life from it. The whole issue with “accepting Jesus” is that He has to be Lord. I fear there are many who think they are Christians but in reality are not, because they have rejected the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Jesus had that problem with the people who saw Him physically, and He still has that problem with us today. His words echo down through the centuries: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) There are many who treat the Bible as a talisman, a good-luck charm, and don’t apply what they read to their daily lives – provided they actually read it, even. The Bible will indeed lead us to Jesus, and thus to eternal life, but only if we read it with humility, allowing it to “penetrate even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow [and] judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
Growing up in the home I did, I was immersed in the Bible from before I was born, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always walked in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As much as I love the Bible, I know that words on a page don’t in themselves save me; I’ve got to receive God’s truth by grace through faith. Since my primary motivational gift is Teacher, I tend to feel that dumping truth on people should be sufficient, yet I know even from my own life that is not the case. I’ve got to be active in applying God’s Word in my own life, and as a pastor I am to be helping others do the same. I find that frequently things that seem obvious to me because of my background are far from obvious to others, and when I express them, people respond with “Oh that’s so deep!” I need to come alongside people and walk them through the truth God has ingrained in my heart. Anything less will come across as judgmental and holier-than-thou. Only when I allow Christ to be formed in/manifested through me will people really recognize Him to follow Him as Lord.
Father, once again I am up against my own inability. Thank You that You are not limited even by my inability. I ask You to do in and through me all that You have planned, so that those under my care may be healed, nurtured, and empowered to be all that You have planned, for the sake of the Body of Christ and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!