This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. Psalm 119:50
A promise is only invaluable to me if the promise came from someone precious and trustworthy. The same words, spoken by a casual acquaintance, don’t carry the same weight as words spoken by my dearest friend. There is comfort and meaning only because of the relationship.
To experience true life-change from the Scriptures, I must understand two things; 1.) They are words. 2.) And, they are just words unless the Spirit reveals them to me.
- If I read the Bible just to entertain myself with stories, just to acquaint myself with concepts, I will miss the relational meaning behind them all. It will feel the same as reading a novel or the morning paper.
- If I seek manifestations of the Spirit, in worship, in prayer, without the Word, I will feel some sense of the Lord’s presence but He will have no definition without the Word behind Him.
To fully engage with Him and the life-changing power of His Word, I must engage with both. My life was forever changed in 1997 when I came to the open scriptures and said, “These are just words on a page, nothing more. Where are you? Please open my heart to your words and reveal them to me.” That prayer (still made every single day) transformed me from a ‘once-in-a-while-Bible-reader’ to a passionate student and disciple. I don’t study it because I love to study. I study because I’m wild about Jesus and I know He wrote the words.
So, I contemplate the psalmist’s words this morning. He reveals that God’s promises give him life. How do words on a scroll drip life into his afflicted heart? He has a throbbing, pulsating relationship with the One who wrote them. The author and inspirational force behind the scriptures, when engaged, becomes the One who whispers the Torah in his ears. In the context of love and faithfulness, promises spring to life.
Every one of us who has trusted Christ knows that the Spirit lives inside us. He is ever with us – because He promised that He would be. So, why is that not more comforting? It’s because we have not asked Him to fulfill the role He was meant to fulfill in our lives. Interpreter, teacher, revealer, speaker of the Word to our souls. I’ve often said, “I know You’re here, Lord. But I can’t feel it!” I failed to realize that seeking the Spirit, void of the Word, was like asking someone to comfort me but putting a muzzle on their mouth so they couldn’t speak and putting a blindfold on my eyes so I couldn’t see them. If I want the full effect of God in my life, I must embrace the Word and embrace the Spirit as speaker, teacher, and revealer.
I long for your Words to penetrate my heart as deeply as You intended. Teach me. Move me. Speak your Word over me that I might see, that I might life. Amen