My husband experienced literally a “crisis of faith” when we were in the trenches of marital suffering. For several years he watched me be pretty consistent with daily Bible study, he saw me teaching the Word regularly in our church and speaking in conferences, but in our marriage relationship, I was one miserable woman to live with!
My husband didn’t see the Word affecting my behavior. My study invigorated me, gave me substantial head knowledge and doctrinal grounding . . . but there was still a major problem.
I wasn’t trembling.
I wasn’t approaching God’s Word with the awe and humility it deserves.
I was approaching God’s Word as an academic student, but not as a needy child. That is a hazardous activity. When we profess to know God’s Word and yet, we walk away from our study of the Word unchanged, we send a dangerous message to the watching world. We send the (false) message that the Word isn’t life changing.
I was doing that.
Do I have anyone’s attention out there? I’m not being melodramatic, this is very serious business. This is a vitally integral component in our spiritual growth, so I think we need to dedicate at least one blog post to it.
This is Day 4 in the “Top Ten” series.
I’m running down a list of ten things I would encourage you to incorporate into your life, if you want to deepen your love relationship with Christ and press on to spiritual maturity. If you’re just now joining me in this series, I hope you’ll jump over and read the other posts this week where I address the Top Ten:
And then come back to join me for today’s topic:
#4 Tremble at the Word
When we approach God’s Word for study, we need to guard against the tendency to relegate it to the same category as the study of other great works of literature or academic writings.
If we are keenly aware of the nature and origin of Scripture, we will tremble at His Word.
[box]“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness . . .” (2 Timothy 3:16)[/box]
I hope you didn’t run past that familiar verse too quickly. Did you notice the words: reproof and correction?
The Greek Word that is translated “reproof” is from a root word that, among other things, has the connotation of exposing shameful behavior by bringing it to light. One definition of this word is: “to call to account, show one his fault and demand an explanation.”
Does that make you tremble to consider that?
That is one aspect of studying the Word that is missing if I approach it in pride. If I set out to study the Word for head knowledge, but have a cold and non-responsive heart. I will miss the reproof that God desires to bring into my life. The reproof I so desperately need!
How about the word: “correction?”
Did you ever have a parent tell you, “I need to straighten you out!”
Well, if you didn’t, you were probably a much better child than I was, because I seem to recall hearing that a lot. The Greek word that is translated as “correction” here, has that idea. It is taking something that has grown crooked or become disfigured in some manner and needs to be restored to its original condition. It needs to be corrected, straightened.
I need that.
I need the Word to correct me, to take my sinful disfigurement and graciously “straighten me out.”
But what really brings me to a place of awe, a place of holy trembling, of sincere humility, is when I remember this:
The Word I am studying is the breath of God.
God breathed out His Word as a fresh wind of living truth, igniting a fire of understanding within the human authors who carefully penned down words breathed through their hearts by His Spirit.
And amazingly, now I’m breathing in that Word as I study.
That makes me tremble.
If I’m oblivious to that truth when I approach His Word, I miss the point. This is His breath, His living message to the reader, to me. This is not ink on paper, or digital images on screen, this is the organic communication from my Father.
If I come to the Scriptures as an expert, if my heart is hardened, ears and eyes closed to my own need . . . I will not tremble.
And I will not be changed.
I must come as a child. As a needy child, I must humbly come to feed on the Word and allow it to not only nourish me, but expose me. I must come willing to be taught. I must come trembling at His Word.
Father, I desperately need the grinding of grace that Your Word brings as it refines me, as it uncovers and brings to light the dark grip of sin, as it leads me to walk in a clear and stable path; the steps you’ve ordered for me before the foundation of the earth.
Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul observes them.
The unfolding of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
I opened my mouth wide and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
After Your manner with those who love Your name.
Establish my footsteps in Your word,
And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.
Redeem me from the oppression of man,
That I may keep Your precepts.
Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
And teach me Your statutes.
My eyes shed streams of water,
Because they do not keep Your law. (Psalm 119:129–133)
How are you approaching God’s Word?
Are you trembling?