There are many who can read the word of God all day long, yet never apply it to their lives. To some in this situation, they are merely reading what they think is a good story and nothing more. Others consider it a good lesson in history, but refuse to see how it can relate to current events. While others still only read it when in public, but never where an audience can’t see them.
These truths are saddening facts. The Lord’s word is beautiful from cover to cover. The Bible tells us of history, yes, but it is a love story that relates to every time period, whether current or not. And it isn’t a romantic love story, where the guy meets a girl and falls head over hills. No, it’s a family love story where a Father did what He could to rescue the children He was willing to adopt. This isn’t some fairytale you dive into to escape from reality for a brief moment. This is real; this is pure love.
Seriously, when you mess up the worst that you think you can, your hands are dirty, you’re ashamed and guilt-ridden, embarrassed, God still loves you and will adopt you into His family. That is pure love. Jesus didn’t just die for the ones who’s worst act was causally telling white lies or purposefully pressing their neighbor’s buttons out of spite. Jesus died for all! And when I say all, I mean all.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”John 3:16-17
Let’s take Saul for example. Saul went out of his way to persecute and kill anyone who called Jesus their savior, who proclaimed the Gospel. He killed the children God had adopted into His family because he believed what they were spreading was lies. Yet (and this is a big ‘yet’), when he traveled to Damascus he fell to the ground, humbled, because Jesus appeared before him as a light from heaven. Saul was forgiven, saved, and adopted into God’s family. He would go on to become Paul, one of the greatest followers of Christ.
The thing is Paul didn’t just read the scriptures that he had (what we know as the Old Testament) or merely listen to the stories the disciples told him of Jesus. He lived them! He studied what he could (he couldn’t get enough of God’s word), he became a missionary, he helped establish churches in the cities he traveled to, he wrote letters to strengthen the morale of other Christians (letters that became part of the New Testament), he mentored Christians new to the faith, he taught what he could, and endured what he must all to help others know Christ.
“But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”John 3:21
It isn’t enough to simply read the Bible. Anyone can read it. It isn’t enough to simply call oneself a Christian. Anyone can claim to be something they desire to be known for. As absurd as it sounds, I can read a fantasy book that is popular amongst bookworms and claim the next day to be a dragon slayer or an orc. That doesn’t mean that I am one. If we don’t live out scripture what reason do the lost have to want to know Christ? If we are living like the lost why would the lost need Jesus?
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.”James 1:22-25
To live out scripture is to practice discipline. Discipline from God’s word shapes us into the person we were created to become. A life without godly discipline is a life without food or water. We will spiritually starve and thirst without ever getting rest from either of them, slowly falling to ruin until our faith has perished. When asked ‘what makes you a Christian’, some will say ‘I believe in Jesus’. While sincere belief is a part of it, merely believing Jesus exists isn’t enough to save someone nor make them a Christian. Even Satan and his demons believe in Jesus. Others will reply, ‘I read the Bible’. Even Satan knows what scripture says. Satan had a conversation with Jesus — which is more than we can say — and quoted scripture whilst doing so.
“The Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’
Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’.
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the hightest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone’.
Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’.’
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘If you will bow down and worship me.’
Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’.’
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”Matthew 4:1-11
We are saved by grace, a gift from God that we cannot earn. However, like a present being offered to us, we cannot have what is wrapped up until we accept it from the one who offers it. To accept the gift of salvation, all one must do is “declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” (Romans 10:9).
“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’.”Romans 10:12-13
“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”James 2:17
Apply scripture to your lives, brothers and sisters. Live it out. Give the lost a reason to seek the Lord. Shine His light so brightly they thirst to know more about Him and what His word says. Light up the world like a city on a hill. Let them see Him in you.