Love the Word

From "Collected" (Collecting Everyday Moments and Centering Them on the Gospel of Jesus Christ), written by Joy Bice

Love The Word
January 10, 2010

Growing up in a Christian home, the Bible has always been an important book in my life. I was in sixth grade when I first felt a conviction to read it on a daily basis. I was also in sixth grade when I first felt a struggle in my heart. The struggle to read my Bible became a legalistic issue almost when it became a conviction. Reading and studying God’s word became something that I knew I should do, and when I didn’t, I felt condemned. Yet, in the midst of what would be a 27-year struggle, God used his word in my life in powerful ways. God’s word taught me and spoke to me through many times and seasons.

For example, as newlyweds, Steve and I were faced with a very disappointing housing situation in which promises made to us by our Bible School authorities were broken. We struggled to trust that the situation God had us in was right. In our impulsive and sinful response, we even considered quitting. Then God brought to me the verse that says, “some trust in horses and some trust in chariots, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Ps. 20:7). I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking through God’s word to ask me who, or what, I was putting my trust in. Was it the housing I desired, or him? He used that simple verse to challenge us to stay and trust him for the results.

Another time, long before I’d had much teaching on the sovereignty of God or sanctification, I read Romans 8:28-29. The Holy Spirit showed me clearly that the “good” he causes in a believer’s life is being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, not obtaining something that looked “good” in my eyes. That dramatically affected my view of God’s will for me.

These are just a couple examples to show that, despite my legalistic attitudes about God’s word, Scripture powerfully influenced me anyway. I had times of desire to be in the word, but I can’t say that I loved it the way I do now. Though I knew it shouldn’t be, it remained a duty more than a true ongoing desire.

Throughout all these years I was part of, and led, many different Bible studies. God used these studies in my life, but still deep down they did not really change my love for God’s word. Then something dramatic happened to me, which I consider to be one of the greatest changes in my life since conversion.

When I say it was dramatic I don’t really mean that in the sense of a dramatic event in my life, but rather a dramatic change in my heart. A night and day difference that occurred in me that caused me to wholeheartedly say that I loved God’s word. This helped me start to see Scripture as a gift to treasure, rather than a duty to perform.

How did this happen? First, we moved to be part of Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The gospel teaching saturated my soul in ways it never had before. My eyes were opened to what it means to trust in the righteousness of Christ alone. Second, my husband, Steve, gave me a birthday gift: a simple journaling bible with space in the margins to write my thoughts and impressions while reading God’s word. Third, I attended a seminar that Pastor Mark Alderton called “Feasting on The Word.” He taught a principle that would forever change my time in God’s word. He told us to always look for the gospel in every passage of the Bible, because the whole Bible is a revelation of Jesus Christ; a story of redemption. It was a simple, but life-changing truth.

After the seminar, I decided to take a slower-than-usual tour through God’s Word, about a chapter a day, journaling as I went. Then I came to one of those tough passages in Hebrews that had previously stumped me and caused me to doubt. This time, when I read it, God revealed Jesus Christ to me as someone to hold fast to. He showed me that everything hung on believing, not on doing.

These are my notes at the end of the book:

“Hebrews has been an interesting book to glean from. I have no idea what Bible scholars have to say about the theme, but I think the theme is Jesus. Cling to him, Look to him, Be inspired by him, Be equipped by him, Have faith in him and through him, Be encouraged by him, Be comforted by him, Be understood by him, Be cleansed by him, Hope in him, and Put away sin because of him. This book makes my heart want to chime in and say 'love him.' Precious Jesus, you are worthy. Thank You!"

I failed to really love God’s word before, because I failed to truly see the connection between the written word and the living Word. Viewing the entire Bible as a revelation of Jesus, always pointing me to the gospel, changes me. This works in both the New Testament and the Old Testament. Morning after morning, God speaks to me of Jesus through his word, even when Jesus is not specifically mentioned. Even when all I read about is law or wrath, his word reminds me of Jesus, who took the wrath that I deserved and fulfilled the law that I could never keep. Increasingly, in the margin of my Bible, I am thanking God for Jesus, and spilling out love for him.

At times I still have dry spells in devotions and days when getting in enough time in the morning is difficult. There are still those days when life sucks me in when I step out of bed and I cannot be with the Lord and in his word in solitude the way I would like. The big difference is that I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good through his word and I long for more. I don’t feel condemned when I miss time with him, I feel disappointed, and I praise God for that change.

I am grateful that God patiently, through all those years, worked in me to love his word. I am so excited to keep going in this adventure in his word with him, and know that all of it is his doing. What a priceless treasure we have in the Word of God. A lifetime will not be enough to mine the revelations of the pearl of greatest price – Jesus!