Thrive: Respond to God's Message

Read John 5

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. John 5:39-40, ESV

Reflect

  • Am I responding to God's Word--learning how to live it daily--in loving Jesus, laying down my life for others, and moving into abundant life one step at a time?
  • When I read the Bible, do I ever feel like that's enough?
  • How often do I read the Bible, close the cover and then not think about God's Word again for the rest of my day?

Sometimes we forget the fact that the Scriptures aren't God Himself, but God's Word. There's a subtle but important difference between the two. God doesn't want us simply to read a few verses each morning, close the Bible, consider ourselves "covered," and then proceed through our day without a second thought of what we read. Reading and studying the Scriptures isn't enough, Jesus tells us in these verses. Sure, the Scriptures are about Jesus' life--they "testify" about him--but the real key is to take those teachings and apply them to our own lives, to live out Jesus' Word, instead of just reading about it. Jesus's Word doesn't provide eternal life; only Jesus Himself can offer us that.

It's easy to say we're going to carry Jesus' Word into our daily life, but it's another thing entirely to figure out how exactly we're going to do that. In his book The Power of a Whisper, Bill Hybels outlines a useful and concrete way to practice this, a formula he uses each morning during his quiet time. He chooses a few verses and then reads through them slowly at least twice, jotting notes about what the verses mean to him personally and how he might apply them to his life. Then he writes out a simple prayer of commitment to living based on those verses, and prays those words back to God, often several times throughout the day, as a reminder of how he can bring Jesus' teachings into his own daily life.

Pray

Lord, help me understand that subtle but important distinction between Your Word and You. Help me take Your Word--Your lessons and teachings--and apply them to my life in a real and concrete way.

Move forward in your faith with more from Back to the Bible at backtothebible.org or oneplace.com. We're also on Facebook and Twitter.