If you have been following my posts for a couple of years, then you know that my favorite day of the year is New Year’s Day. Don’t get me wrong–I love Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, but nothing compares to the beginning of a new year for me.
Each year on January 1, I ask the Lord to give me a Word for the year. I don’t mean a word, such as love or faith or grace. I want a Word, a verse, a Scripture that is going to be what I keep before me throughout the year.
I’ve had some really interesting ones in the past. One year all I heard was “It is finished.” I thought I was going to heaven that year. Instead, God delivered me from some old, sinful habits I had been carrying around. It was a year of breakthrough for me.
The Living and Active Word
This year as I waited patiently before the Lord for my Word, I kept hearing Hebrew 4:12:
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (NIV 84).
The Greek word translated living in this passage is zao, which means “to be alive, to live a life, resurrection life.”
The Greek for active is energes, meaning “active, effective.” This word is closely related to the noun energeia, which means “working, power, energy” and the word energeo, meaning “to be at work, to produce” (The NIV Exhaustive Bible Concordance).
How often do we come to our time in God’s Word, viewing it as a living thing rather than just words on a page?
Have you ever heard someone read the Bible as if they were reading the Sears Roebuck catalog?
Have you witnessed someone read the Bible with such passion you could tell they were interacting with Someone?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-2, 14).
Let me tell you something: Jesus is the Word. When we read the Word, our soul and our spirit are communing with Jesus Himself. You talk about power! Whew!
You want to know truth? You are interacting with Truth in the Word. Jesus prayed these words to the Father:
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
Jesus also said these words:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6a).
God’s truth for us and for the world has been revealed in the Person of Jesus through His Word. The Word of God is the revelation of God to us. And it is the living, active, effective, working, powerful, presence of God.
I once went to an Al-Anon meeting, which is for family members of alcoholics. One of the recovery slogans is “It works if you work it.” That saying has stuck in my head over the years, because it’s true with the Word of God. It works if you work it.
In other words, we have to put it to work in our lives. How do we do that?
We need to read the Word of God every single day.
If we don’t set aside time to read the Bible, we are saying that we don’t have time for God. The truth is we have time for whatever we value in life.
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).
We need to study the Word of God.
As Christians, we need to hear from God every day in order to follow His directions. His Word will have power in our lives when we begin to dig into it and search out His truth. We can easily do that with study Bibles, concordances, commentaries, and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
We need to obey the Word of God.
Just like that Al-Anon saying, the Word is no good to us personally if we are not willing to put it into practice in our lives. It will work no matter what–we just may not see it work in our lives if we aren’t willing to do what it says.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).
Not only is the Word living and active, but it has the power to penetrate our lives, revealing our thoughts, motivations, and intentions. That may sometimes seem frightening, but the truth is that we can’t grow, thrive, be successful, or at peace unless we allow God to penetrate our lives, convict us of sin, reveal His truth, and work in us to make us what He wants us to be.
Jesus through the Word has the power to set us free. Our responsibility is to cooperate with His working in our lives. We do that best through obedience to His Word. When it cuts, let it cut. Then go to God for forgiveness and healing.
And we need to share the Word of God.
We need to stop worrying about what other people think or how they respond. That’s not our concern. Our mandate should just be to share the power of the Word Made Flesh with others and trust God with the outcome.
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
We are surrounded by people who want to be set free. And we have the answer they are looking for.
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free'” (John 8:31-32).
You can’t get much more powerful than that! A disciple is “a committed learner and follower” (The NIV Exhaustive Bible Concordance). As we commit ourselves to Jesus and His Word in 2018, let’s become real students of the Word. Let’s commit to daily time to interact with the living God, to study, obey, and share God’s Word with others, thereby growing in our relationship with God and making disciples along the way.
Are you ready to join me in committing to God and His Word this year? I believe we can see real change in our families, our churches, and our communities as we hold out the Word of life in 2018. Let’s do it!
Check out my new book Seek Him First: How to Hear from God, Walk in His Will, and Change Your World, now available at Amazon!
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