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Delight or Drift

Paula celebrates the Word and writes about its importance in directing our faith and ensuring we do not drift away from God.

I recently had a significant birthday which was fun to celebrate with my family and friends; once I got over the shock of my new age. I have a lot to be grateful to God for which causes me to agree with David:

“Your love, Lord reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies” (Psalm 36, verse 5)

We all know how days drift into weeks, then months into years and before you know it, you have reached a new decade.

Recently when reading the book of Hebrews I found there were 5 warnings and the first one was:

“We must pay the most careful attention therefore so that we don’t drift away” (Hebrews chapter 2, verse1).

Like our physical days can drift without focus, so can our spiritual lives. We can go off centre and put our faith in other gods rather than Christ having the number one position. I have seen this so easily happen in my own life.

The author of Hebrews was writing to the new Jewish Christians who were perceived as a threat by the Romans and who also had pressures from the Jewish community. He warned them to not lose focus on Christ and not wander back into what was comfortable and culturally acceptable. The whole book is saying: you don’t need the familiar, you have something better now - Jesus.

One thing I know for sure is for me to stay anchored and not drift as a Christian means to be in God’s Word and with God’s people. Everything we need to go from death to life and for godliness is in the Bible with the power of the Holy Spirit in us.

DL Moody famously said: ”I never saw a fruit bearing Christian who was not a student of the Bible. So few grow because so few study.”

The Word of God

In 2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 14-17 we see Paul’s final charge to Timothy to endure in the Word. Paul refers to God’s Word as the “Holy Scriptures” because, being divine, they are set apart and I love how they are described as God-breathed.

The Word of God has the power to make you wise and drive away the foolishness of unbelief. Faith comes from hearing the Word and seeing Christ for who He is. The Word is sufficient for salvation and feeds our faith so we keep trusting Our Creator God.

For those who believe, the Bible equips us for spiritual maturity in Christ.

There are 4 specific ways these verses in 2 Timothy say the Bible is useful:

1. Teaching:

It is full of sound doctrine so we learn the truth and, as a result, our Biblical worldview develops over time.

2. Rebuking:

It is able to show us where we are sinful. We learn how much we need God and the Holy Spirit convicts us of our guilt. It reminds us of the holiness of God and that we need God to deliver us as we are so easily deceived about our own sin (Hebrews chapter 4, verses 12-13).

3. Correcting:

When we drift we need to get back on the path and self-correct. This reminds me of Christian and Hopeful in Pilgrim‘s Progress. They both wilfully jumped over a fence off the path into the bypath meadow thinking it just ran alongside but little by little it digressed and they got further and further into danger. A deluge came down and they couldn’t find their way back; they were lost and lay down exhausted. Giant Despair woke them up in Doubting Castle where things got worse in ways they could never have imagined.

When we drift we need to know how to get back and Scripture is so useful for correction. It gives us markers, boundaries and guidelines to keep us safe and centred on Christ. I love Psalm 119 where we see the question:

“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your Word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands”

Straying sounds a lot like drifting to me.

In Isaiah chapter 30, verse 21 it says: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left your ears will hear a voice behind you saying “This is the way; walk in it”.

It brings such comfort knowing God is near and we have a Father who wants the best for His children.

DL Moody famously said: ”I never saw a fruit bearing Christian who was not a student of the Bible. So few grow because so few study.”

Like the Ephesians who had forsaken their first love, we often do the same. Paul tells them to remember, repent and go do the things they did at first. When we have forsaken our first love it is no accident but is a result of the choices we made along the way.

4. Training in righteousness:

The Word is holistic instruction in life and right thinking leads to right living (Hebrews chapter 5, verses 13-14).

The end result is that the servants of God are equipped for every good work. We have all we need for the good works God has provided in advance for us to do.

It takes time to correctly handle the Word (2 Timothy chapter 2, verse 15) and I know in my experience the words of the Bible did not start off as sweeter than honey to my mouth. My time in the Bible and at church are not always full of joy but over time as I learn more about God and the big story of the Bible, I have grown to delight and love God more. Regular reading of the Word has meant I have put deposits into my spiritual bank account so when hard times come along I can withdraw exactly what I need to stand firm.

I can now testify He has made firm my steps. Though I stumble (often) I will not fall for the Lord upholds me with His hand.

Delight don’t drift

For Christians to be salt and light in our world today we need to know the Christ revealed in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. That way we recognise false teaching and don’t drift away in cultural Christianity that tells us it is all about us and what we do, rather than who we are becoming. Our faith in action must be centred on Christ and the beauty of the Gospel as we love God and our neighbour.

We are so easily distracted by what is alongside the path that before we become aware our devotion has drifted from Christ and we are known for our good works rather than the goodness of God to all mankind.

So let’s remember His mercies are new every morning. If we have drifted He is calling us back to walk in the Way the Truth and the Life.

Let’s delight in His Word which is a lamp for our feet and a light for our paths and keep in step with the Spirit. Remember we have brothers and sisters who care if we drift and an Almighty God who leads us on a straight path.

Paula is a speech language therapist with pre-schoolers who have a disability. She and her husband, Jim, have been part of Windsor Park since moving from the UK 20 years ago.They are parents of two teens and are team leaders for year 10 youth. Writing is a new thing but one which she is enjoying as a way of expressing how God speaks and leads her in everyday life. // Photo: Caleb Van Essen

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