We’re making our way through another month and I’m wondering how all of our New Year resolutions are going. Some of us are seeing results from hard work and effort. Others of us are, well, waiting for Monday to try again!
Many choose to begin the new year with goals of being healthier or stronger. The shelves are scarce of health foods and gyms are often full. It’s great to strengthen our bodies and improve health, but we need to also focus on the spiritual aspect of our beings.
How are we doing this February?
Recently, I was reading through the book of Mark, and the Sadducees (religious leaders who were not Jesus fans) asked Jesus a question. Jesus asked a profound question in return. “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?” His response to them struck a deep cord with me.
These religious leaders were…. well, religious. Deeply so. They were the ones who were always at church, who could quote Scripture like a boss, and who seemed to have it all together. But Jesus pointed out a big problem. They knew Scripture, but they didn’t know it.
What does that even mean?
First of all, Jesus is the Word in flesh. He is truth. He was standing before them, but they did not know Him. They refused to acknowledge Jesus and dismissed Him. The first step in knowing the Scriptures (the Bible), is to acknowledge that Jesus is Truth and His authority as God.
It is possible to be at church every time the doors open and have Scripture memorized, but for our hearts to remain hard and our eyes blind to truth. Knowing the Bible isn’t a matter of trying to make it say what you want it to say, but being willing to be changed in mind and heart. Head knowledge is useless without heart change!
There is a great Liar who is an expert in deceiving. We often make it all too easy because we do not know what God says or fail to apply it to our lives. As a result, we are easily persuaded by selfishness, pride, blatant lies, half-truths, and popular opinions that sound oh-so good, just, loving, and right. Sometimes we pick and choose little bits of the Bible to create a god or belief system that makes us comfortable.
Why is it that many Christians and Churches do not sound or look any different from those who do not know Jesus? Because, as Jesus said, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” He didn’t say, “You don’t know this or that verse.” No, He said “the Scriptures.” As in, all of it put in context. If we really know the Bible and Christ, friends, we should be radically different in what we believe, how we act, what we watch, and how we live.
You know what is really sad? Most of us are very familiar with celebrity gossip, trending “news,” are up to date on all the latest shows and movies, know the lyrics to all the songs on the radio, but have no/little idea what the Bible says much less how to apply it.
Friends, we need to cut out the junk food that fills our hearts and minds with things that God hates. We need to start “clean eating.” We seriously need to detox. We need to exercise on a regular basis by reading the Bible. We need regular check-ups with the Great Physician to see what needs changed and how we can grow. We need to be willing to be put in the work and make necessary sacrifices.
Knowing the Scriptures means that I won’t look the same anymore. And I don’t want to. I want God to change my heart and mind. I want to be like Him because I’m tired of temporary satisfaction and binge “eating.”
I don’t know about you, but I have a long way to go. But, just as in losing physical weight, spiritual growth starts with choice to take the first step, then another, and another! It is going to require making time with God a priority. It might mean I need a specific plan. I will have to cut some “sugar” out, and choose to consume what is good. All of the work will be worth it! Christ doesn’t just give us life, but life abundantly – if we are willing to LIVE it!
I am resolved put in the work to know the Scriptures and Truth. Are you?