When you come to God’s Word, are you looking for a “quick fix”?
I was struck by the following quotation, as I read through one of Pastor Colin’s sermons from the radio series “The Anatomy of Faith”:
God may be saying to you, “Instead of looking for a quick fix to the problems in your life, you need to establish a regular pattern of receiving my Word with faith, so that it will bear long-term fruit that you have not been bearing in years.” You never know what God is going to say to you, but you know He is going to say it through His Word. (Colin Smith)
This statement is striking because it pegs our human tendency to view God’s Word as a “quick fix.” I’ll bet that I’m not alone in wanting to hear God speak truth into my heart. But I’ll also bet that many of us tend to be drawn to Scripture thinking we need an instant solution for our troubles, rather than nourishing, consistent sustenance for our souls.
In effect, the Word of God becomes a means to an end and – I’ll admit it – it’s usually a selfish end! Deliver me from circumstantial trouble. Show me the next step I should take in my own carefully crafted plans. Make sense for me of this enigmatic reality that makes up God’s sovereignty.
God’s Word can easily become information for our brains, rather than nourishment for our souls. Instead of genuinely loving and craving the Word, we can use the Word for selfish gain, hoping that it will give us a way out of worldly troubles and suffering. Scripture becomes a “quick fix.”
So how can we learn to love God’s Word increasingly more every day? How can we avoid looking to Scripture as a mere “quick fix”? I think there are three key points in Pastor Colin’s statement above that will help us see how we can—only by God’s grace—grow in loving the Word:
Establish a Regular Pattern
Make God’s Word a necessary part of your day. You must be intentional about making a pattern of reading God’s Word. Know yourself by examining your schedule and your habits; everyone is different in this regard. Then, carve out intentional time to read the Word of God, whether it be early morning, on your lunch break, or before bed in the evening. I find that reading the Word first thing in the morning is best for me, because I personally have the most energy and focus in the morning. Get creative, but establish an intentional pattern here.
Also hear the Word preached on Sunday mornings as a weekly pattern by sitting under the teaching of a pastor who also loves God’s Word. Just as an athlete would make a pattern of training for a race, so God’s people should establish a regular pattern of hearing the Word of God. By committing to your church each week, you will begin to love hearing the Scriptures preached because God delights to faithfully speak and work through his Body of believers.
Receive the Word with Faith
As you establish a pattern for hearing the Word, pray that the Lord Jesus would soften your heart to receive it with faith. It is possible, even while consistently approaching the Word, to do so with a hardened heart. I see this within myself on mornings when I’ve already got a “plan” by 6:30am. I stubbornly rush through the Word, lacking the time or intention to meditate on it. And in doing so, I harden my heart to what God might teach me. I do not receive the Word with faith.
You and I need the help of the Holy Spirit to take God at his Word. Pray, “Father, I want to value your Word and receive it by faith. Help me. Soften my heart to receive.” Rest assured, he will pour out grace and mercy to give you a heart of humility! He will help you to receive the Word with faith.
Praise God for Good Fruit
It is a wonderful thing when God’s people hear the Word, receive it with faith, and then bear much fruit as a result. Hear me say this: Good fruit produced in the lives of Christian believers does not save them. But good fruit is evidence that they have been saved! Pray that the Lord Jesus would bear the fruit of the Spirit in you, as you receive the Word by faith.
Brothers and sisters, may we never see God’s Word as our “quick fix”! Rather, my prayer is that we would love the Word of God increasingly more each day, hungering for it like the Psalmists did, when they wrote, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2). Note the delighted anticipation in their prayer; what a wonderful love for the Word!
Friend, look to the Lord Jesus for help today in loving His Word. Be sustained by his life through receiving the Word consistently with faith. Then praise him for bearing good fruit in your life!