The Epiphany of Joy, Chapter 2: Joy in God’s Word [3 of 3]
God’s Word is powerful and fully alive! It’s like the Force in the Star Wars movies. I remember Obi Wan Kenobi’s words to Luke Skywalker after Obi Wan rescued Luke from the Sand People and brought him back to his dwelling: “ . . . the Force is what gives the Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” Except God’s Word is real, penetrating us through the soul to the spirit, spirit to Spirit, binding not only the galaxy together but the universe. “For the Word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). God’s Word is a divine Light Saber!
Two years ago I had a particularly bad day wrestling with myself and with God about whether or not I should quit my job to pursue this writing avocation. I cracked open my notebook and wrote “What is my greatest fear? Why am I so afraid to quit my job right now and pursue a full-time writing career?”
Under that I began to write a bulleted list (of course) of all my reasons, starting with excuse number one: fear of being poor. God thwarted that lie with Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” That was followed by fear of failure, resulting in becoming poor. God stepped in and chopped that one up to bits: “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13). Next I listed fear of disappointing my father, to which he threw three verses at me: Jeremiah 32:38, Galatians 4:7, and 2 Timothy 2:15. The list grew: fear of not providing for my family, lack of confidence in my capability to actually do this job, fear of rejection by others who may think that what I did (quitting such a good-paying, secure job) was stupid. One by one God revealed the lie in each one of the devil’s flaming arrows by flea-flickering me a scriptural reference to tackle each one. The common thread of all of these lies was lack of trust in God, but He showed me the scriptural defense of this potentially incapacitating lie as well: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6). He also revealed Job 42:2 and Philippians 1:6.
Whew! No wonder the psalmist rejoiced in God’s precepts, God’s statutes, God’s Word. It’s pure joy! And for free! In Psalm 119 the psalmist boiled down the wisdom of following the Living Word of God:
How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.
Hide God’s Word in your heart (in other words, memorize it) and I guarantee you’ll witness the amazing transforming power the Word will bring about. As Caroline Barnett wrote in her book Willing to Walk on Water (page 14): “It’s time for us to live out our lives like we believe God’s Word with all our heart, soul, and mind. We must study and apply His promises every day. We must use the Bible as a guide to living the abundant life He has intended for us. God may not duplicate the same biblical miracles we read about, but He can and does perform new ones.” Including filling your heart–and your life–with living joy.
Copyright ©2013 by David C. Hughes