…In his word do I hope (Psalm 130:5)
The title of this post may not seem to be terribly exciting, because it sounds like a religious cliché. We all know we’re supposed to place our hope in God and His Word, and it is easy to hear this and just respond with, “yes I know.”
It’s like hearing, “God loves you.” We’ve heard it so much that its meaning has failed to really impact us. But when you consider, “God loves you,” and really take it to heart, the meaning can return and become a powerful life changing truth!
The same is true for putting hope in God’s word. Most people don’t really know how to rise above the troubling circumstances of the world by using God’s word. Yet His word is likened to a sword, and many Christians love the sword and admire it. They study it and talk about it, but they never pick it up and learn how to USE it.
The times are tough. I talked recently to a man who could only lament society’s current state of affairs. I told him there was power in God’s word, and that he didn’t have to be a victim of the circumstances. But he would not receive this. “The Bible doesn’t address the specific problems of today,” he said. That is just plain ignorance. The problems of today may be a different flavor than those of the past, but the root issue has been the same from the beginning. If you reject the Word of God, you reject any possibility of hope.
So how do we really hope in the Word so that we can be victors and not victims?
Jesus countered all the temptations from the devil in the wilderness using the Word (Luke 4:1-13). He didn’t have to go look up what He needed, it was already in Him. As soon as Satan came with a suggestion, Jesus cut it down immediately with, “It is written…” We can do the same, but we have to be in the Word as a lifestyle, not just trying to find a good promise in the time of need.
Be Separated Unto the Gospel
Paul identified himself not just as an apostle, but as separated unto the gospel of God (Romans 1:1). It is important to be set apart. Many Christians are not committed to living for God. They can tell the date and time that they “invited Jesus into their hearts,” but they don’t really live for Him. They may be fine churchgoers and even participate in Bible Studies, but their day to day lives show no care for the things of God.
First things first: start living for God. Ditch your agenda and take up His. The great Chinese Christian, Watchman Nee, described it as making God the new landlord, or the manager of your life. Everything you do filters through Him now. You belong to God.
I’m basically talking about holiness here. Holiness means to be set apart. It does not have to be a legalistic thing. We set apart ourselves to God in love, just as a husband and wife should belong only to each other. We are not our own anymore. We are His.
Be Separated Unto Good News
Here is another way to be separated unto the gospel of God: the word, gospel, means good news. It is important to focus and dwell on good news and not the information overload of society’s bad news. There is enough being broadcast and shared to depress anyone for the rest of their lives! Turn it off! You don’t have to deny that there is bad news out there, but you don’t have to dwell on it either. Concentrate on the glorious promises of God. He is not intimidated by all that is wrong in the world. To be separated unto good news means that you will not commit to engaging the bad news. You may be aware, but you’ve got better things to think about!
Paul wrote to Timothy, refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness (1Tim.4:7). This is saying the same thing: don’t commit to the wrong information. Reject it! Then exercise yourself in what is good. Godliness is a bit different from holiness. I believe that godliness refers to thinking like God. What does God think about salvation? What does God think about the economy? Is God stressed and worried that He might not be able to provide for His children in this special situation? This is why Paul said to exercise thyself. We have to literally train ourselves to think more the way God thinks.
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come (1Tim.4:8). If you train to think like God thinks, you will find yourself un-intimidated by the way the world is thinking. You will have grace and peace…multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord (2Peter 1:2). Note that you do not necessarily need increased faith! It is knowledge that is needed, and knowledge comes through the Word of God.
It is an experiential knowledge. This is not knowing about God. This is about KNOWING GOD. How do you come to know Him who is invisible? Through His word. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2Peter 1:4). It is not about studying the promises so that you can get all your theology straight. It is not about studying the promises so that you can simply live according to “what is right.” It is about claiming the promises as your very own, that you might partake of God’s divine nature!
That means it’s supernatural! You are already a supernatural creation if you have placed your faith in Jesus. No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost (1Cor.12:3). You believed the testimony of Jesus, and the Holy Ghost supernaturally worked in you. Now it is the same with all the promises and testimonies in the Word. Believe and receive, and you will partake of the divine nature. You will be able to overcome temptations. You will be able to minister to others. You will not be destroyed by satan’s lies. You will be living in the truth, and the truth will set you free!
Some people don’t want to believe and receive. A friend emailed me and complained of a lack of work and of poor health. I wanted to encourage him, so I mentioned two pertinent Scriptures (Jeremiah 29:11 and 3John 2). He responded with reasons why those Scriptures didn’t apply to him.
To hope in the Word, one needs to believe that it applies. One has to take the very promises that were made to others and receive them for his or her self. God’s promises to those He cared about before can be made applicable to those He cares for today.
But you have to choose. You can choose a theology of failure that explains why it won’t work for you. Or you can choose to grab hold of the exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.