"The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian."
~ A.W. Tozer ~
I think I will bake a cake today. But in perusing the recipe, I am not impressed with the list of ingredients. I think I'll make some changes.
*Eggs aren't that good for you, so I'll just leave them out
*I'm really fond of salt, even if it is unhealthy, so maybe I'll add some extra
*There is so little baking powder in the recipe, it's probably not important so I'll skip that as well
*Flour is so boring. I think I'll stop after 2 cups. 3 cups is too much to measure
*Waiting for 45 minutes before my cake is ready? No way! I want instant results. I'll take it out of the oven after 20 minutes--because that is actually a long time!
What do you think my cake will look like? How will it taste? No binding element of eggs, no leavening element of baking powder, too much salt, not enough bulk of flour, not cooked long enough--it will be a sad mess of a cake with all the wrong flavor. Silly, huh?
But isn't that how we often approach Scripture.
*I really like the Proverbs, so I'll spend all of my time there
*Lamentations is soooo depressing, think I'll skip that
*Those rules in Leviticus, so outdated; no reason to read that part
*Paul is so judgemental to women--I'll skip him too.
*Revelation is too hard to understand, so no reading there either
*A regular, quiet time? Emphasis on the time? I'm too busy...I'll give God 20 minutes and no more
And then we wonder why our lives are a mess!
But Tozer saw a bigger picture. Now before you get caught up in "spiritual perfection" note that Tozer does not use that word as "never doing anything wrong" but in the idea of "perfection = wholeness". We become the people that God created us to be, wholly put together, by spending time in God's Word. But reading it is not enough. We must "religiously obey" it. Again, I don't think that this is about legalism. It is about actively applying the Word to the situations of our life. And we can't pick and choose what parts are the most appealing--God ordained all of Scripture for our use.
Paul says it like this,
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
It's all good! And, it all has a purpose! The more we study it, the more God is able to illuminate our eyes to the purpose. I don't know about you, but I long for spiritual wholeness--to be the woman that God created me to be. I know that it is a life-long process of being. But I'm willing to take the shortest path. And that path involves the hard work of truly studying and seeking to know God. Just like I want my cake to be completely cooked with the right ingredients, I want my life to be flavored with the ingredients of God's Word and brought to fruition in His timing. I guess that means it's time to dust off some of the passages that I tend to pass over because they seem irrelevant or difficult.
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates...
Father, God, you are the God of wholeness and perfection. I long to know you in perfection. Teach me your ways Father. Draw me to the whole of Scripture. Guide my heart to desire to read it all, to know it all. But Father I pray that reading Scripture does not become an academic effort to know. Help me to apply what I read, to obey what I learn. Use my Scripture study to develop me into the person You desire me to be. Amen.
The hostess this week for In Other Words is Debbie at Chocolate and Coffee. Come and be blessed!