Loving God and living by the Word are inseparable! In this post by Dr. Donna Hart, PhD, which first appeared here on her personal website, she shows us why and how to live by the Word.
One of the things we called to do by the Lord, as an expression of our love for Him, is to internalize His Word. John 14:21 says that, “He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will manifest myself to him.”
Our attempts to be obedient to the Lord’s commandments are a demonstration of our commitment to our relationship with Him. The Word says that if we are committed to our relationship with the Lord in this way, He will reveal or manifest Himself to us.
Living by the Word Intensifies Our Relationship with Jesus
Jesus wants us to live by the Word of God so that it will intensify and more deeply personalize our relationship with Him. In order to do that, we must first internalize the Word into our hearts, so that it may affect all areas of our lives and translate into serving another all to the glory of God.
Loving God and knowing His Word are inseparable; they are woven together as threads of the same yarn. To the degree to which we love and delight in God’s Word, (Psalm 119:24, 47, 48, 113), we will love and delight in Him. Thus, when the Word of Christ richly dwells in us, we will experience more of being filled with the Spirit. And the more we know and delight in the Scriptures, the wiser and more like Christ we will become.
You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul (Deuteronomy 11:18).
To impress means to put or place something somewhere. This ‘something’ is Scripture and the ‘someplace’ is your heart and soul. God wants His Word placed in our hearts and souls, which means that the Scriptures are governing all areas of our lives. So when God says that His Word is to be “on our hearts,” He means that our whole lives are to be controlled by the Word.
Jesus summarized all of the commandments from ten into two when He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your hearts and with all your soul and with all your mind. And a second it like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). As our lives are controlled by the Word and the more of God’s Word we have internalized for ourselves, the more effectively we will be able to use it to help another.
Our goal is to know the Scriptures so well that we are like one of the scribes Jesus speaks of in in Matthew 13:52, who “brings forth out of his treasure things new and old,” that is, things he has learned from others and things he has figured out for himself.
Living According to Our Culture Is Self-Serving
In contrast, our culture, unfortunately, believes knowledge should be sought for the sake of knowledge. Knowledge for the average American includes facts to be learned, and the goal seems to be to amass as much knowledge as one can in order to know more than the next person.
Learning is self-serving for the purpose of getting a good paying job so that the person can find satisfaction in doing whatever they enjoy. This cultural, self-oriented view of learning is antithetical to the biblical view.
The biblical counter to our culture teaches that we learn better, faster, and more eagerly when we can see the value of what we are learning makes to our life. We discover in this process that we are also able to put what we are learning into practice immediately because we are learning for the purpose of doing.
For the Christian, learning is not about facts to be memorized, but rather Biblical truth to be lived. It is not knowledge for the sake of knowledge but knowledge for the sake of implementation.
Jesus did not tell his disciples to know all that He commanded when He gave the Great Commission, but rather He said, “teaching them to observe all that I commanded” (Matthew 28:20). Christians are not to use what they learn for their own glory and personal benefit alone, but also for God’s glory and the benefit of others (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Internalize Scripture then Live It
Scripture is to be internalized, then turned into living. It is to be translated by the Christian in cooperation with the Spirit’s leading (Romans 8:14), into a changed life. Paul prayed this prayer for the Colossians.
For this reason also, since the day we heard [of it], we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding… (Colossians 1:9-10)
Paul wanted all of his disciples to know the Scriptures so well that their hearts would be bursting with biblical wisdom necessary to determine God’s will for their lives.
It did not end there – the ultimate purpose was for this knowledge was to live (walk) in such a way (producing fruit) that would please and glorify God. “…so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please [Him] in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
May you and the people you influence, mentor, or teach translate the facts you are teaching from their minds, to their mouths, to their lips, and to their hands. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).