The Purpose Driven Life
THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
TRANSFORMED BY TRUTH
The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. 2 Timothy 3:17 says, “Scripture is given so that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Sanctification requires revelation. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with the Word of God. And the Word is alive. In John 6:63 Jesus says, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” When God speaks, things change. Everything around you, all of creation, exists because “God said it.” He spoke it all into existence. Without God’s Word you would not even be alive.
The Bible is far more than a doctrinal guidebook. God’s Word generates life, creates faith, produces change, causes miracles, heals hurts, builds character, transforms circumstances, imparts joy, overcomes adversity, defeats temptation, infuses hope, releases power, cleanses our minds, guarantees our future and scares the Devil. We cannot live without the Word of God. It is as essential to your life as food.
God’s Word is the spiritual nourishment you must have to fulfill your purpose. A Bible left on the shelf is worthless. Feeding on God’s Word must be your first priority. In John 8:31 Jesus says, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” In our daily lives, abiding in God’s Word includes three activities. First: The Bible must become the authoritative standard for your life.
A lot of troubles occur because we base our choices on unreliable sources such as: culture (everyone is doing it), tradition (that is what we always have done), reason (it seemed logical) or emotion (it just felt right). All four of these are wrong because we chose those according to our sinful nature. What we need is a perfect standard that will never lead us astray. Only the Word of God meets that need.
Paul explains in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness.” Ask first, “What does the Bible say?” Resolve that when God says to do something, you will trust God’s Word, and do it whether or not it makes sense to you or whether or not you do not feel like doing it.
Since God knows the end from the beginning, He knows what will happen tomorrow. Not only that, He also knows the inside of your heart, all your strengths and weaknesses according to Psalm 139. So our mind cannot grasp all that God has in store for us. We need to follow Abraham’s example in Genesis 12, where God told him to leave all his family and go to a land that He will show him, and he trusted God and went.
How must I treat the Bible so it has the most beneficial impact on my life? First I must receive it, then I must read it, then I must research it, remember it and meditate on it. First you receive God’s Word when you accept it with an open mind. The parable of the sower illustrates how our receptiveness determines whether or not God’s Word takes root in our lives and bears fruit.
Jesus identified three unreceptive attitudes: a closed mind (hard soil), a superficial mind (shallow soil) and a distracted mind (soil with weeds). Jesus said in Luke 8:18, “Therefore take heed how you hear.” Anytime you are not learning something, check your attitude, because God can speak through even the most boring teacher when you are humble and receptive. James 1:21 says, “Receive with meekness the implanted word.”
People nowadays are more faithfull reading the internet or TV than reading their Bible. We can’t watch TV for three hours and then read the Bible for 3 minutes and expect to grow. Most people have never read the Bible from cover to cover. A simple tool that is helpful for this is one or several Bible reading plans. And this needs to become a daily habit. Daily Bible reading will keep you close to God.
Researching the Bible is another practical way to abide in the Word. The secret to good bible study is asking the right questions and using the right study books that will continue to challenge you. James 1:25 says, “The person who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he/she does.”
The fourth way to abide in God’s Word is by remembering it. You may think you have a poor memory, but the truth is that you have millions of ideas, truths, facts and figures memorized. You will remember what is important to you. There are real benefits in memorizing Bible verses. They will help you: resist temptation, make wise decisions, build confidence, offer good advice and share your faith to others.
The fifth way to abide in God’s Word is to meditate on it. Meditation is not letting your mind wander, but it is focused thinking. Philippians 4:8 says, “Brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.”
Receiving, reading, researching, remembering and meditating on the Word are all useless if we fail to put them into practice. James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” This is the hardest step of all, because Satan fights it intensely. Actually you can be so busy that you have no time to implement what you have learned. All bible studies are worthless without implementation.
Satan loves it when after you study the Bible, you do not do anything with what you learn. Jesus said in Matthew 7:24, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” God’s blessings come from obeying the truth, not just knowing it. In John 13:17 Jesus said, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
We also avoid application because the truth of God’s word will set you free but first it may make you miserable. God’s Word exposes our motives, points out our faults, rebukes our sin and expects us to change. It is human nature to resist change, so applying God’s Word is hard work. That is why it is important to discuss your personal applications with other people. And a small fellowship is perfect for this.
Before ending this chapter, spend some time thinking about this question: What has God already told you to do in His Word that you haven’t started doing yet? Then write down a few action statements tat will help you act on what you know. You might even tell a good friend who can hold you accountable. The Bible was not given to us so that we increase our knowledge but to transform our lives.