For a good portion of the time, which ends up being for the most part, I’ve been in the word regularly, normally daily, over the nearly forty years I’ve been a Christian. I tend not to care for illustrations as in graphs, etc., but am a word person, and probably audio as well. And I like to try to think things through, or I end up trying to do that, whether I like it or not.
But even if I had a photographic memory and could bring up any portion of scripture to mind, or one way or another had Genesis through Revelation memorized, it would do me no good on my own. Just as scripture came through the God-breath of the Spirit, so we can only understand it through the Spirit.
It is good to study scripture, of course prayerfully, asking for the Spirit’s help. To think through it theologically, to see it in the terms of God’s story fulfilled through Israel in King Jesus. And to study all the details of that story, the great salvation which accompanies it.
But without the Spirit’s help, it won’t make the difference in our lives God intends it to make. And we will be left high and dry, at least largely on our own.
In spite of ourselves, and our ways, the Spirit is faithfully at work in our lives as Christians. But we need more. We need to be open as fully as possible to the work of the Spirit. We, and when I say “we,” I’m thinking of me, we need to quit thinking we can figure it out, that all we need are God’s words and we’ll do the rest.
We’re told to trust in the Lord with all our hearts, and not to lean to our own understanding. Certainly that refers to the way of the Lord versus our own way, the way of fallen humanity. But it also refers to our lives as Christians in all the detail that go with that.
Although all Christians have experienced this in some significant measure, it is a new way for me to take, or perhaps it is a new growth spurt which I need in depending on the Spirit. And this need for an enlarged, deeper dependence for me has been with reference to issues which have plagued me. It is not that we can avoid trials and testings, and hard and difficult places. We’re not promised to have no troubles in this life. Quite to the contrary, we’ll have plenty of them.
But how do we see our way through them. The Lord as a rule does not save us out of the troubles, but he saves us as we go through them.
And so I continue on in the word, in scripture. At the same time calling out to God to help me see it all, to see my life, and how I should live it through the help and ministry of the Holy Spirit. And we want to do this with others in Jesus in God’s good will together for the world.