As we pursue our Spiritual Check-up, God does not leave us in the dark regarding the marks of a healthy Christian life. We are not to be influenced by the attitudes and values of the culture around us, or we may come to think that the busier we are, the healthier we must be. Today we turn to consider something that is vital for growth: 2. Do you feed on Scripture?
1. Why should you feed on Scripture?
Once new life has begun by the work of the Holy Spirit, we are to grow spiritually, and in order to grow we need food. The Lord has provided spiritual food for his people in Scripture (Psalm 111:5). Two reasons why we should feed on Scripture:
(i) Scripture is God-breathed. We feed on Scripture because of the kind of book the Bible is. The Bible is utterly unique – ‘God-breathed’ (2 Timothy 3:16). The entire Bible has its origin in God. As 2 Peter 1:19 tells us, the written word of Scripture is even more sure than the voice of God on the mountain of transfiguration. Note 2 Peter 1:21 ‘men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.’ What Scripture says, God says.
(ii) Scripture is transforming. That is so in 2 fundamental ways:
- In conversion: Often the Spirit uses the Word in vital ways as he brings sinners to conversion (see 1 Peter 1:23). He applies the Word to awaken and draw sinners to Christ.
- In sanctification. As the Spirit transforms us into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18) he applies the Word powerfully to stir a hatred of sin and a desire for holiness. Psalm 19:7-8 describes the practical transforming effect of the Word.
2. How should you feed on Scripture?
(i) With prayer. This is essential. Much of Scripture is beyond our natural capacities (see 2 Peter 3:16) but we have the ministry of the Spirit to enable us to understand and obey. Prayer is a cry for the help of the Spirit. Psalm 119:18 is a good prayer to use before Bible study.
(ii) With humility. We come as humble learners, not as masters of the Word. This means submitting our intellects to the authority of Scripture, not setting ourselves up as judges of what we are willing to accept. We should take Samuel’s words in 1 Samuel 3:10 as our own.
(iii) With eagerness. It is a mark of grace in our hearts when we delight in God’s Word. There are many examples in the psalms – such as Psalm 119:97. There is to be no half-hearted engagement with the Word. Our attitude to Scripture shows our attitude to God.
(iv) With obedience. Obedience is frequently commanded in Scripture. James 1:22 ‘be doers of the word, and not hearers only’. To be a hearer only is ‘deceiving yourselves’. It is dangerously easy to substitute listening alone for receiving and acting on the Word. There ought to be increasing obedience alongside increasing understanding. This is rooted in love: ‘This is love for God: to obey his commands’ (1 John 5:3) – a good test of spiritual health.