Philippiansby David Sanford
If we've asked God to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, what should we think about? The answer Paul gives in today's verse perfectly describes Jesus Christ. And it perfectly describes the Bible.
Thinking about God's written Word (Scripture) and incarnate Word (Jesus) may sound easy enough, but it's actually quite a challenge.
It's one thing to know about something. It's quite another to love someone. Before his Damascus road conversion (Acts 9:1-31), Saul knew the Hebrew Scriptures better than most of his peers, but he hated Jesus with a vengeance. After his conversion, what a change of heart!
Many Christians have favourite books of the Bible, stories about Jesus, or sermons. Favourites are fine as long as we don't neglect the rest. It's not enough to read God's Word here and there, or only once through. Many pastors and teachers recommend reading three chapters a day, which allows you to read God's Word cover to cover in a year. Occasionally, I'll set aside a year to read the New Testament four times. We must never neglect the Gospels, which compel us to fall ever more in love with our Lord and Saviour. People often say they loved someone once in the past. It's entirely different to love someone steadfastly, faithfully, daily, forever. After one of Jesus' most controversial sermons, ″many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him″ (John 6:26-66). When He then turned to the Twelve and asked if they also wanted to leave, Peter replied, ″Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God″ (vv. 67-69).
Yes, it's possible for our hearts to grow cold at times. As we see from Philippians 4:6-7, the solution is to talk to God about it, present our requests to Him, and thank Him for His answer to come. There have been times when, after I committed my request to God, His answer came the very next morning, causing me to laugh out loud. Why didn't I talk it over with God sooner? Indeed, we are reminded by today's verse and from personal experience that there is no need to look further than God's Word and Jesus. May our love for God's Word and Jesus grow and grow.
How many of the four Gospels have you read in the past year? What's your goal for this year?
How much of the Bible have you read in recent years? Again, what's your goal for this year?