“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16
While on vacation I read an article encouraging Christians not to despair about the times in which we live, but instead to be encouraged by the troubles and persecutions God’s children are facing. “Huh?” was my natural (and very deep 😉 )thought. The writer went on to explain that it is only through pressure that diamonds are forged. The pressure that is sure to grow in our country in the days to come will separate diamonds from coal and dust. It will become more and more difficult to simply go through the motions of being a Christian, or to “put on” Christianity only on Sunday mornings. The pressure of persecution and of going against the grain will force people to firmly decide where they stand: God’s side or the world’s side. The writer’s belief is that as a result of such a firm line we will begin to see more bright sparkling diamonds shine forth for Jesus.
I have been pondering his thoughts, and find that I completely agree. As I have been writing curriculum lessons from Paul’s letters to the early churches, I cannot help but notice the growth and depth that grew from such a hostile environment. The early church faced obstacle after obstacle, both from within and without, and yet the church grew and flourished. Why? Because of sound teaching from God’s Word and as a result of pressure.
God’s Word teaches truth, exposes sin, and guides our lives, while pressure forces us to decide who we are going to be and who we are going to follow. The times in which we are living are uncertain and at times frightening. However, we do not have to be fearful depressed people with no hope. We have TRUE HOPE. We have the hope of the very One who said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome the world.” We can have joy because the One who has already claimed eternal victory is making us into diamonds which sparkle and shine in the light of His Kingdom.
Let’s refuse to give into despair and fear. Instead let’s ask God to make us bright strong diamonds; to take away that which does not reflect His light, and to grow us strong for Him. Let’s hold tight to His Word; not just put it on our nightstands or pick it up on Sunday morning. Let’s treat it as the life saving, life guiding treasure that it is and use it. Let’s wear out Bibles out as we cling to them, study them, and turn to them.
The usefulness of the Bible was highlighted to me in an amusing way this morning. I was sitting on my deck having my quiet time with the Lord. I was reading about joy in the midst of trials, and felt God speaking to my heart. I held the Bible while I prayed. While praying I heard what sounded like a helicopter buzzing around my head. It was a huge and very determined bee. Instinctively, I used my Bible to swat at it. It took several swats with God’s Word, but the bee flew away and I was left standing there, wielding God’s Word like a sword and feeling victorious.
God’s Word is our weapon for overcoming the world (and apparently the bees:) Let’s pick it up today and ask God to let us SEE Him through the words He had penned for us.
(And watch out for those bees! 😉 )