BIBLE BASED LIVING
Regular reading of the Bible and meditation of the word of God are indispensable for spiritual growth. Here we need to ask the primary question as to how far we are living according to the word in our daily lives – whether in our homes, or in our relationships with the immediate family members or in the society at large. Some other related ponderable questions are: As Christians, how far are we able to positively influence the people around us? Whether are Christians held in high esteem by people of other religions? Are we honest, law abiding citizens of our nation? Why many Christians are labeled as ‘namesake Christians’? Ultimately, how far can we say that we are having a right relationship with God?
Let us admit the fact that knowingly or unknowingly, we are prone to commit sins, whether they are ‘minor’ sins or ‘major’ sins. No wonder, David cried out to God ‘Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression’. ( Ps 19:12,13 NKJV).
We are created in the image of God to glorify Him in our daily lives. God has commanded us to keep His precepts diligently (Psalm 119:4, NKJV). It must be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We must consecrate the word in our hearts so that we become conscious of God and will not sin against God. All the laws and commandments with their interpretations in the Bible are meant for our guidance. East or West, God’s laws and commandments remain absolute. They do not change with culture or times.
The 500th anniversary of the Reformation movement was observed recently. One of the major offshoots of the movement was that Bible was made available in the believers own languages, which helped people to grow in the knowledge of God and His commandments, which has definitely caused transformation of lives. The revival movements in the subsequent centuries can be traced to personal reading of Bible and obedience to God’s ways as given in the scriptures. Thus, individual access to the word rather than depending on the clergymen was a big development. The believers are individually responsible for righteous, godly living. ‘As many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified’ (Rom 2: 12b-13, NKJV).
It is very necessary that we should not try to read and understand the Bible merely with our intellectual skills. We should meditate on the Bible verses as the Holy Spirit leads us (1 Cor 2: 13-14). The scripture is God-breathed and as such the readers will get enlightenment as the Holy Spirit inspires and guides them. Further, the Holy Spirit enables the believer to walk in the laws and statues of God (Eze 11:19 -20).
Understanding of the scriptures as guided by the Holy Spirit would help us to stay away from interpreting the scriptures to suit the individual needs. It is also necessary that we do not become judgmental, by means of our Bible knowledge. ‘Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven’, says the word of God (Luke 6:37). ‘Holier than thou’ approach adversely affects our relationship with God and inter personal relationships. Victorious Christian living should be a reflection of our personal relationship with Jesus and that will be possible only when we live according to His word. ‘Jesus said ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments’ (John 14:15). ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed’ (John 8:31). Further, searching the Scriptures will be in vain if one does not have a personal relationship with Jesus (John 5: 39-40). Unless we know Jesus personally, reading of scriptures will be futile and will not pave way for a good witnessing among others. How we hear the Word is equally important. Believers are constantly exposed to umpteen number of sermons and Biblical expositions. Hence, great responsibility is cast to listen to the Word carefully and put it into practice in our lives. We are accountable to God for several messages that we hear. In the parable of the sower, the diverse responses of different types of hearers should be an eye opener to us (Matthew 13:3 – 23).
We have to overcome the crafty designs of the evil one and be faithful to our God. Fruitfulness in Christian life is definitely linked to right hearing of the Word, its proper understanding and wholeheartedly practicing it in our lives. From the Old Testament times, God’s people were warned against spiritual blindness and spiritual deafness. Our Lord was grieved by the fact that His people honored Him with their lips while their hearts were far away from Him. Is it not a hard reality that there are lots of dissension and strife and hypocrisy among Christians such that they are hardly able to impress non Christians with their lives. As we are the salt of the earth and light of the world, we have to positively influence the secular world through our lives and testimonies. This is possible only when we live according to the Word. We can march towards perfection as to our heavenly Father who is perfect, only when we obey His commandments.
In the Bible we find all the signposts for godly practical living. (2 Tim 3:16). A few verses, for example, are listed here: The need for holiness and purity in our lives as we are the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16) ;Victorious Christian living ( 2 Cor 2:14);Imbibing the fruit of the Spirit in our daily lives (Gal 5: 22-23); Overcoming our weaknesses (Philippians 4:13); Offering our lives as living sacrifices to God (Rom 12: 1, 2);Godliness in our conversations (Col 4:6; James 3: 1-12);Warnings against the greed for money. (Mathew 6:24; 1 Tim 6:6); Casting our cares on God and not to worry ( Mathew 6: 25- 34); Sanctity of marriage : (Eph5:22- 33;Heb 13:4); Children and parents Eph 6: 1-4);Loving neighbours Eph 4:32; Right , godly thinking ( Ph. 4:8); etc. Christians have a great responsibility to live according to the word of God. Ignoring this fact can have disastrous consequences- losing the divine privilege of having the fellowship with God. (John13:8).
By George John