2022 Discipleship Series: Seeking to Grow in the Word
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, NIV).
Baffling. Impossible. How can this be?
I remember the first time I heard John 1:1 read. Several years ago, Columbia Church of God invited me to speak for their ladies during the Easter season. In her delicate, calm voice, Diana Thomas read this Scripture from the pulpit while I sat in a pew.
God opened my ears and heart to understand my Jesus who saved me also was the Word who was with God from the very beginning of the earth’s existence. Unfathomable! Yet, this truth powerfully drew me to the hem of His robe, where I then trusted He would satisfy my every need. I trusted He would teach me His Word.
Perhaps unlike many of you, I grew in my relationship with the Lord before I grew in His Word. Without a doubt, God reached down from heaven and chose me. Jesus set aside time in His day to make Himself known through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Slow like a sloth, I looked up Scripture that arrived in the mail plastered on the front of a card. If someone I knew posted a verse on Facebook, I opened my Bible to find it. I took notes during the sermons and would choose one verse to meditate on that week.
Do notice I wasn’t winning any prizes for Scripture memorization. While this activity has value for the present and for the unpredictable future, in it lies a dangerous temptation from the devil that whispers as long as you can quote the Bible, people will think you are holy and righteous.
Rebuke the devil with this: My righteousness comes from Christ (2 Cor. 5:21), and He has chosen me (Ephesians 1:4). My Lord saved me by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). I do not earn His love or count the opinions of people toward who I am in Him.
Never have I sensed God pressure me to memorize Scripture. He was and is and always will be the most patient teacher any of us have ever experienced. God reassured me that I could continue to look up Scripture as long as I needed/wanted.
Why would He do such a thing with a 40-something-year-old He called to speak His truth?
No matter what you or I can regurgitate, it is our heart that matters most to God:
“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
Remember the wise men who sojourned following the star placed by God so that His Son would be found by them. They stayed the course, heeded warnings, and did not allow anything to stop them from finding Jesus. He promises He will be found if you seek Him with a pure heart, desiring to know Him.
Are we loving Him when we seek the Scriptures, or are we anxious because we cannot remember where something is?
Are we truly seeking to feast on the Bread of Life, seeking to drink from His water and never thirst again…or are we doing a quick devotion in the morning and running until we fall into bed at night?
For those who seek Him find Him:
“And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Those who fear Him are nestled in His wisdom and under His wings (Psalm 111:10, Psalm 91:4).
Those who not only know the Word but are doers (James 1:22)…apply it to their lives, deepen their roots, remain connected to the True Vine…become changed on the inside in ways that are only supernaturally possible.
“For the word of God is alive 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” (Hebrews 4:12).
Though our limited minds cannot grasp how Jesus is also the Word who lives and actively pursues a relationship with us, let us lay down our memorization trophies.
Allow His presence to surround us with blessed assurance that we do not need to walk the balance beam at Scripture gymnastics. Rather, come, seek, know, learn, grow in Him, in He who is the Word.
Remember growth has to begin somewhere. We are not born knowing Jesus or His Bible. As we encounter others, may we bend our ear to listen to their questions, their longings, and guide them gently to the Word.
Please also remember growth cannot be complete on this side of heaven. We cannot ever know ALL of Scripture, its meaning, its applications. Nor can we ever know Jesus fully here on earth, yet we are fully known. Hallelujah!
One day soon, we will answer to God about how we did or did not pursue a relationship with His Son, the Living Word (Romans 14:12). Let us allow this future meeting with God to build our hope higher in Him, to spur our souls to pant for Jesus. As we pant, let us drink of the Living Water found in the pages of Scripture. For I can say with complete confidence, none of us will regret how much time we spend growing in Our Lord and Savior.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (Psalm 42:1).
Julie Dibble is a servant of her Lord Jesus Christ. Together with her husband Jason, they have two sons, Braedon 17 and Jackson 15, and one rescued pup named Rocko. Julie preaches, writes, hikes, and prays for God to use her daily in this broken world. Currently, she is on staff at Newberrytown Church of God as Director of Outreach and Evangelism.