Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart

The key to 'understanding' the Bible isn't IQ it's the heart. The key issue when it comes to man and God is the human heart. Those who can't understand it fail because of unbelief in their hearts. Those who are blind are ‘unbelievers’ – 2 Cor 4. Those alienated from God have darkened understanding because of ignorance caused by hard heartedness – Ephesians 4v18. (Just pause for a moment and shudder at the prospect of having a hard heart... how awful that would be, how terrifying to be ignorant and therefore to be alienated from God.)

Like Marcus writes: Knowledge, for Christians, is not an academic category, it's a moral category.. The Pharisees (John 5) had an abundance of information and expert education but no eternal life. Conversely those who do understand do so only because the Holy Spirit shines light into our hearts to see clearly God's self-revelation of his glory in the gospel of Christ.

It’s not that Christians are cleverer, it’s that God is gracious to illuminate our hearts, giving us new hearts that can hear what God says. It is never the application of God's word for us to merely understand new information about something, or to be able to summarise the message of a particular passage. Scripture's intended effects are to bring us to God. The word of God revives the soul, gives light to our paths, makes the heart burn within us and brings transformation one glory-degree at a time to make us more like Jesus.

The word is soul-satisfying, it tastes better than even the choicest foods God has made, more precious than the rarest metals whose molecules he composed. And the word gets to the centre of us with re-creative power because change has to happen from there. It's no use re-arranging the externals (Luke 6) because the heart is naturally, rebelliously rotten to the core. Rules and regulations can't change the heart - only the gospel word of God can remake us. Other medicines don't cure sin they only disguise it with self-righteousness.

But when we come and we meditate on the word, worshipping Jesus, we can rightly expect our hearts to be changed. In your Small Group expect that. View it as a Mission Team who gathers together once a week to share stories from your mission, to pray for it and to have your hearts fueled with the fires of the gospel to mobilize you afresh for mission. Let it drive you beyond yourselves in faith to reach those on your corridors, course and in the clubs that you’re part of.

You don’t need to exhaust a passage of everything it says, scripture is rich in depth beyond your comphrension. The right words for study of God's word are words like medidate, taste, see, behold, gaze, believe as well as learn and understand. The impact of a generation who learn to read God's word this way is beyond our imagination. This is the root of what I call transformission - hearts transformed by the Spirit, through the word, for missions. Transformed to make Jesus famous. That's not a call to do less than to engage issues, think hard and understand - it's a call to do that and more. Comprehension wont change the world. We need to be aprehended by God in his word, then and only then might we see substantial and significant impact made for the gospel.

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