Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Bible, God’s written word, is able to; transform our way of thinking, show us how to live, fill us with faith, and reveal Jesus to us. Not the letter of the scripture but the spirit of the scripture, that God breathed intent that the Holy Spirit can bring to life in us.
Life is dynamic. We grow and mature. Second Corinthians 3:18 says “we are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory.” This describes an ongoing work. But sometimes things in us can become stuck. We sort of become frozen at a point of growth and just stop. And sometimes it is our beliefs and doctrines that can be the hindrance.
Consider this picture of candles as representing scripture. There are lots of things in the scripture that can change us, that are “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” And when we have faith in these scriptures and let them, they will work God’s purpose in our lives. But we can keep them from being effective, from achieving their purpose.
Here’s an example of what I mean. For many people, if you quote John 3:16 “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” they will say “I believe that.” If you quote 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” they will say “I believe that.” But if you quote Philippians 2:12-13 “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” they will start explaining why that doesn’t really mean fear but instead means something like awe. Often a belief created around one scripture (in this case 1 John 4:18) will be used to nullify another scripture (e.g. Philippians 2:12). And without realizing it some of the candles have been blown out. We still have light, but we don’t have all of the light working in us.
I want all of God’s written word to transform me. I don’t want to transform some scriptures to make them fit my beliefs. That means I have to let God’s word work in me even if I don’t understand it. So when I hear John 3:16 I want to believe it and let that scripture change me. When I hear 1 John 4:18 I want to believe it and let it change me. And when I hear Philippians 2:12-13 I want to believe it and let it change me. I want every candle to be lit, lighting my path and showing me the way.