Lessons in Growth Meditations: 15. God’s Word as a Doorway
Rev 3:20 I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
The Different Perspective: Because I believe we very often take these thigs for granted, I am seeking to view these ‘spiritual disciplines’ through the perspective of living a resurrection life, a life brought alive and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Two meditations back we considered prayer as a doorway into God’s presence, a doorway into new possibilities, something far more than just a ritual of uttering words into the air. In yesterday’s study we considered an extension of that, the fact that we have a God of provision (which is often highlighted as we pray), again transforming the possibilities from the old life into a new life of security in being loved.
“God’s Word”? But now we come to “God’s word” and for many of us this will just mean the words of the Bible, but I would like to suggest that if we are living in resurrection life awareness, although that will be the foundation of all our belief, it is not all there is. The other day I woke feeling rather worn and weary and as I looked into something I had to do that day as part of a family experience, I was aware that I was grumbling inside. I didn’t want to do it, I was too tired, and as easy as it is to speak about God’s resources, sometimes it takes an effort to take hold of them. That was my frame of mind when the Lord spoke: “Son, see this time as a time of opportunity.” And that was it. I was changed, and the day and the event turned out to be great.
God still Speaks: Now in that mini-testimony I am aware that for some I will be presenting a stumbling block because they may have come from a background that teaches that the word of God ceased to be added to with the completion of the canon of Scripture. Sadly for such people, that speculative and insecure teaching means they miss the realisation that the living God is speaking to them in their daily lives. Now as much as I would not put such simple words as in that little testimony above on a par with Scripture, I nevertheless equate them with the word of God because I am convinced God spoke them into my mind and brought a transformation about in me that brought blessing in a variety of ways.
When God speaks, transformation should follow: Now what I’ve just said, highlights something about the word of God. When we take it as the word of God, it should always bring transformation. Consider those words of our starter verse above, very familiar words from Revelation 3 to the church at Laodicea. Jesus is saying, through the prophetic words that John is bringing, that as he speaks it is like he is knocking on the door of the hearts of John’s readers and he is inviting them to let him come into their hearts and minds to share. To the one who hears it and responds to it and basically says, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” (to quote Samuel in 1 Sam 3:9), he pictures the two of them (Jesus and the listener) sitting and eating together. This is an act of fellowship, and when we read God’s word AS God’s word that is alive to us today, we will find ourselves fellowshipping with Him.
Now this doesn’t mean that God doesn’t sometimes speak to believers who are being casual with His word (just reading by habit with little thought) and even unbelievers (I know of a number of instances where the word of God has arrested and brought to repentance unbelievers who then became believers!). However, great effect comes when we stop and break into the ‘habit’ approach and pause before we read and acknowledge the Lord’s presence in the same way I spoke about in respect of prayer. When I first started writing Bible studies, I always prefaced them with a challenge to pray before reading and a challenge to pray afterwards. By doing both things you are focusing on the Lord and looking to Him for His enabling as you go to read. Today I will be more prescriptive in speaking about being aware of the Lord’s presence.
Eating the Word? When the prophet Ezekiel met with the Lord we find, “And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” (Ezek 3:1-3) The scroll he was to eat was clearly the word of God.
Eating Changes Us: Now the thing about eating something is that it changes you. If it was poison it would either make you ill or kill you. If it is ordinary food, it will nourish and sustain you. Now if, in these biblical illustrations, God’s word is being portrayed as food to be eaten, then the logical conclusion is that the intent of ‘eating’ God’s word is that we are changed and transformed by it.
A Transformation Encounter? Instead of the ‘daily quiet time reading’ being simply a habit (assuming you do it), this time becomes a divinely supernatural encounter, a resurrection encounter, where the power of God is released and the ‘word element’ of such a time becomes a time of divinely supernatural provision and such provision brings about change.
Go beyond Notes: Now I have to make a strange comment here, which I have made a number of times in the past, and that is as a young Christian you may use Bible notes (which may include these) but they should only be as a starter, a support or a backup, and as you grow they should not replace the possibility of you having this direct encounter that I have been speaking about whereby you read and study and meditate upon the word directly and such notes either fall away or simply become backup or support notes I just said.
Basics! There are times, I must confess, when I am feeling very tired and worn out and such times are not conducive to study. At those times I will simply read a passage of Scripture slowly and may then use notes as ‘supplements’ to the main meal. Even in such tiredness, we should be able to apprehend something of the Lord’s presence and greatness.
Distractions: One further thought: distractions. Many of us may have busy lives and lives involving family. Let’s be honest; settling down to know the Lord’s presence in peace and quiet and with His word, is not easy when you have young demanding children. Such times become times of mini-prayer: “Lord, show me how I can grab five or ten minutes alone with you. Please grant me this wisdom.” It only needs five minutes and although longer may be better, under pressure, five minutes is enough to encounter an oasis of the Lord’s presence and His life-changing word. Don’t let the enemy tell you these things are not possible. They are.