Have you ever been to a restaurant and liked so many things on the menu that you couldn’t decide what to order? My husband Richard and I recently tried a new Italian restaurant that served "family style" portions. As we looked over all the menu we literally wanted everything on the it, but we finally narrowed it down to two different dishes and we ate every single bite. I have also been to restaurants where I couldn’t find one thing to order and barely ate anything.
If I am honest, I have treated my Bible like a menu at times. I have had expectations of reading two or three verses with the hope of being overwhelmed by God's faithfulness and leaving my quiet time feeling fully satisfied. But instead, I closed my bible and journal because I couldn't “feel” God’s presence in the pages. I would walk away thinking, "Why did I even try?"
We have become a “fix it now” generation. Pinterest gives us remedies, resources and revelations about so many things to help propel us forward in our lives. We Google anything we need and rely on Siri to take us where we need to go. (I may or may not have called her an idiot more than a few times.) We can fix so many things with a click of a button, so why do we not look to God for a quick fix?
For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow and is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
One of my good friends cooks the absolute BEST fried chicken. I'm serious - every bite is crispy and juicy and KFC should buy her recipe. But I do not like to eat chicken on the bone. The veins and dark meat make me want to gag! When she would cook her famous chicken I would ask her or someone else to cut the meat off for me. She said, “Holly! You're are missing all the good stuff! The whole experience of gnawing until you get to the bone is what makes fried chicken good.”
First of all, I still can’t and will not ever gnaw on anything to the bone, but she actually triggered something in me regarding God’s word. When we open up the bible to look for a verse to “help” a situation, we often can miss the magnitude of God’s power. Below are three things that I believe will help you be able to "gnaw" on God’s beautiful truths to the bone, so to speak. God’s word can and will provide the things we look to Pinterest for!
1. A Remedy for the Soul
The first few words of Hebrews 4:12 can bring such clarity about how God’s word works within in our lives. “For the word of God is living and powerful”. When you open your bible with an issue that is causing chaos or deep pain in your soul, it is not the verse that changes you or transforms the circumstance, but the power behind that verse. God’s word is living, which means its active and never just sitting still. I have read verses and felt nothing and then years later read the same verse in a season where I needed it, and it rocked my world. The Word is a glimpse into the heart of our Creator. Webster defines living as; "not dead, having life, currently active or being used."
When you go to the doctor for sickness they prescribe you medicine and you choose to take it or not. When you need a recipe to dazzle a party you go to Pinterest, but it’s up to you to gather the ingredients and follow them. When you need healing in your soul from bitterness or heartache, God's is your only source to bring about healing, but you have to choose to embrace His word and believe it. God doesn’t want that relationship, food or the desire for more to become your quick fix. Instead, He wants to be where you run.
2. A Resource for the Needy
When I was a junior in college I worked at a resource center. I answered the phones and gathered coats, blankets and groceries for people in need. I also gathered information about resources outside of the things we provided. My shoulders feel tense just thinking about all of the things that people needed, and made me realize how hard it would be to meet every need anyone might have. As I look at the second part of that verse, I gain a better understanding of the fact that the only resource I need to fully supply is God's Word. It says it is “sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow …” .
For so many years I allowed hate to sit in my heart. I was so angry about my dad’s death. I was mad because I didn’t get closure. I was mad because for years my drug of choice was boys and no one was speaking truth into me. I allowed those areas of needs to become a hole of hatred within in me. It wasn’t until I allowed God’s word to shine light on those areas of darkness that freedom and redemption began to happen. But just shining a light on something only exposes it. I had to hand over the ugly areas of darkness to God so that HE could begin cutting, removing and piercing through what was keeping me from experiencing not only healing, but freedom. He alone had to become my only resource.
3. A Revelation That Changes Everything
My family recently returned from a magical week at Disney World. Every day was filled with rides, food and magical moments. In the midst of all the magic were people trying to do the same thing I was. They wanted to soak up and enjoy their time at the happiest place on earth. One night when we were getting off the bus at our resort I noticed an older man who had to be at least in his 70’s. I was walking behind him, and when I say he was slow, I mean he was WALKING SLOW. My feet were aching and my goal was to just crawl into my bed for relief as fast as I could. I started complaining in my head and wanted to just walk around him. But something happened and it changed everything. This sweet man had on special shoes. They had a really thick sole and he walked with an intense limp. I realized he was crippled and that he was talking about all that he had done that day. I had experienced the same things that day but in that moment of my feet aching I forgot about them. He walked much slower and his legs had to be hurting too, but his perspective in that moment moved me. His attitude wasn't set on how bad he was hurting, but how awesome his day had been. But in that moment, my thoughts revealed some ugly in me that didn't reflect the incredible things I did that day with my family.
I believe the last part of the verse is really my favorite part. It says, “a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart.” God’s word discerns the areas of our thoughts to show us the condition of our hearts. When His truth is held beside the intentions of our hearts, it identifies the areas that don’t match up with His heart. Every sin begins within our thoughts and it can quickly infect our hearts. God is so gracious and loves so much that He refuses to let us stay in that area of disobedience. He uses His word to pull us in and cover our hearts with His redeeming love so that we can walk in newness once again.
My prayer is that you will look at your quiet time a little differently. It is not about how much or how long you read the bible. Instead, its allowing His word to become your lifeline, a remedy to your soul and your only resource. A Pinterest for your mind and heart.
His power is real and He wants to rock your world too, so go ahead and gnaw on the bone!
About the Author: Holly is a pastor's wife, mom of two teen girls, church planter, speaker and ministry leader. She and her husband, Richard, founded Revolution Church in North Carolina where she's also the President of Unbound Ministries. Holly also serves CKM as an itinerant speaker.
She is passionate about helping others surrender to God's beautiful grace. She has experience freedom from her own struggles with self-image and desires to help others experience the same freedom in Christ that comes through surrendering to His grace.
She loves to share her story with youth groups and at ladies events. She specializes in encouraging messages about freedom, identity in Christ and embracing God-sized dreams.
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