Proverbs 23:12 - Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.
God has graciously provided for us in His life-giving Word. The Scriptures give us meaningful direction for our lives and generous help in times of trouble. The Bible is full of encouragements for God's people to devote themselves to His Word, to His vital truths, and to the things that bless the lives of others.
As we mature as God's people, we want to become more like Him. This means seeking Him in His Word, so He can change us from the inside out. To do that we need to read it, study, it, pray it, meditate on it, and confess it. As we grow, the Holy Spirit will guide our efforts, convict us of our sins, and lead us to repentance, to turning back to God. By God's grace our minds are transformed by the power of His Word-a word unlike any other: "For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
As God's Word works within us, it shapes us—conforming us daily to the image of Jesus, His beloved Son. Our lives will change as the Holy Spirit works through us. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love; as such the voice of God is the sound of love. As we seek God and yearn for lives motivated by love, we become a blessing to others. Our aim is to put God and others first. Having God's love, joy, and peace in our hearts is a sign we are hearing and trusting the Word of God.
The Holy Spirit reminds us of the truths in God's Word. That's why reading the Bible and consistent study are really important. For instance, as we grow in our comprehension of the Scriptures, we will find the Spirit bringing God's Word to our minds when we are faced with difficult questions or problems. This is why a growing knowledge of the Scriptures is essential. They act as a safeguard against an enemy who is bent on our destruction. "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).
But you may ask, "How can I be led by the Spirit of God?" "Can I really understand His direction for my life?" "Why is everything such a struggle?" First, know that if you have asked these questions you are not alone; you are like many other Christians who have asked them before you. Second, you can be assured that God is leading you through His Word. And we are to be actively engaged in living that Word, living as His people, looking to follow Jesus in all we do.
"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:5-8).
As we live out God's Word in our lives, we take His Word to heart—and become changed because of it.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, may Your Word dwell richly in our hearts. Amen.
From the Bible study "Growing up Spiritually," by Rev. Leroy Johnson
1. What's the best advice you've ever received from someone?
2. Where do you go in the Scriptures to find some real nuggets of wisdom and common sense?
3. Based on your life experiences, do you have any time-tested gems of advice to give to others?
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