If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
I would have done well to have quoted the following verse to begin this post:
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
After all, we’re centered on Christ, not strictly speaking on scripture itself, though it is scripture which brings us to that. In the past, when the 2011 edition of the NIV came out, I bought one at a good price, but with that (like most NIV Bibles, due to popular demand), the words of Jesus are printed in red. They are called, “red letter Bibles,” and it seems like they constitute the majority of Bibles sold to Bible readers. It took me awhile, but I finally made peace with that part of my Bible, and although I prefer all black letter, I don’t seem to be bothered in the least by that now.
The passage above is about keeping Jesus’ words in our hearts and minds. I remember one of Rich Mullins’ lines:
Well, I memorized every word that You said
Hard to Get
Yes. Bible memorization, I might argue, surely would be better, if we started out by memorizing all the words of our Lord, most of which we find in the gospel accounts: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. What I’m referring to, even though it is Christ-centered, is an emphasis on being in the word, all of scripture. That ends up, again, being Christ-centered for us who are followers of Jesus, because that is in significant part, the end goal of scripture.
Last week (and we’re still just as challenged, in a way) I was inundated with this and that, and coupled with some lack of discipline, and surely not enough sleep, I was behind in my regimen of Bible reading, in fact I wasn’t getting much read at all. Although it may be good to take some short breaks from that, and simply be in silence, or at least to read less for a time, I found it telling on me. We had an important meeting at our church, and I felt out of it insofar as how I normally am plugged in, so to speak, so that the kind of contribution I might make seemed largely if not completely lacking.
And so I renewed myself, at the beginning of the week, to be devoted to being in the word, and hopefully along with that, prayer. I find for myself, it must start in the word, and that prayer comes from that in the ordinary course and order of things for me.
There is much in the word, so much. We do well to remain in it from Genesis through Revelation, certainly in all of Jesus’ words, seeking to grow in our understanding and practice of such, and therefore to grow in our faith. Together in Jesus in his life and mission in the world.