Monday, July 10, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: This is how you can fully experience God's Word

It Takes Three
A devotional by Aubrey Taylor

“And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.” 
–Romans 7:10 (NKJV)

If you are like me, even a good thing like inductive Bible study can trigger your weaknesses.

You begin questioning everything you do, every motive you have, and every mistake you make. You agonize over every decision, wondering if it’s the right one. You fear the consequences of bad decisions and accidental sins.

“I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.” That is how the New International Version (NIV) of The Holy Bible translates Romans 7:10. In the same translation, 2 Corinthians 3:6 adds this: “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Every time I begin to fear consequences or punishment, that’s the letter speaking. The Galatian Christians struggled with this, so it should be no surprise that we do. Paul had to remind them that this was the very thing Jesus Christ died to set them free from.

It is necessary to learn God’s principles and live by them, but we cannot nullify or set aside His grace (Galatians 2:20). Sometimes, we have to actively grab hold of it with both hands and not let go. For me, that means tuning out the other voices for a while and drawing closer to Him.

It is important that we sit under the teaching of God’s Word (The Holy Bible) by someone who He has gifted to perform the ministry of a pastor/teacher. Yet when those voices start to drown out God’s Voice, I personally begin to feel condemnation. Suddenly, it seems that every word they speak is directed specifically at me, even if it actually has nothing to do with me. It’s usually not their helpful, encouraging words either. It’s the tough ones.

I felt this way for years, and Satan was happy to add to the weight, because he knew it would drive an immovable wedge between me and my Savior. Matthew 23:4 (KJV) says it this way: “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders.”

Most of our teachers are well-meaning, but too much reliance on the words of other people without coming before God on our own can have the same effect. Their words and interpretation become a filter through which we read scripture, rather than filtering their words through the Word of God. Even with the best of Biblical teachers, we should continue to seek God in His Word as the Bereans did.

When this Biblical event took place, most people did not have a copy of the scriptures in their home. They had to go to the synagogue to access the Word of God. They were seeking the Lord together, but what did each individual meditate on as he made his way to and from the place the Word of God was kept? What did he pray about as he lay quietly in bed at night?

As I envision the Berean community gathered in the synagogue, actively communicating with each other, asking questions and challenging one another, I am reminded of accountability.

Galatians 6:6 (KJV) says, “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” Communicate is an accurate translation of the Greek word "koinoneo". Thayer’s Greek Lexicon provides this definition of koinoneo: “to come into communion or fellowship with, to become a sharer, or be made a partner”. Individual study does come back to the community as we share what we have learned. Then, we wrestle through to the truth together, and become stronger for doing so.

If God’s children want to experience the full benefit of His Word, it takes three things: sitting under the teaching of the Word, time alone with Him, and fellowshipping over the Word with our brothers and sisters in Christ. May we take advantage of each of these opportunities regularly!

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for the godly leaders You have put in place to instruct me in Your Word. Thank you for giving me Your Holy Spirit to guide and teach me. Finally, thank You for the community of believers around me. I pray that You will allow us greater fellowship together as we pore over Your Word. In Your Name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Were It Not for Grace” by Larnelle Harris. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

The only child of a single parent, Aubrey Taylor filled her younger years by creating characters and writing stories. This ended around age sixteen when music, friends and part-time jobs began to fill her time. After that came college, work, marriage, and children. 

It wasn’t until the world was beginning to come out of the COVID pandemic that God led her back to her love for writing, coupled with a passion she’d always had for history. It was time to start a new adventure! Her current long-term project is Gott Mit Uns, a German-perspective 20th century historical fiction series.

Aubrey lives in Upstate New York with her husband and three children. She’s busy keeping the home, caring for her family, doing research for and writing her books.

Aubrey enjoys music and is involved with the worship ministry at her church as well as a German choral group. She also plays gigs occasionally with friends as a singer and acoustic guitarist. After all that, she finds time to sketch, craft, and hike.

She is a lover of Jesus Christ, The Holy Bible, history, German culture, tea, and cats.

Aubrey has a special heart for those who struggle with severe anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Connect with Aubrey:

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