Learn to USE your Bible – Week Three – Part Three 💕
This week the first thing to do is look at Matthew 6:33 a little more closely. You’ll remember this verse was quoted from the teachings of Jesus. It lays out God’s first priority for the life of believers. In the Amplified translation we see:
“But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all his kingdom and his righteousness (his way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. ” Matthew 6:33 AMP
This says we need to spend some time searching out what his way of doing and being right is all about. I’ve been working on this in my own life for more than three decades now and here’s what I’ve come up with:
The first thing to do when seeking God’s way of doing and being right is to dump all of our previously-conceived notions on the subject of righteousness!
Righteousness is a word foreign to our modern way of life. It is an old-fashioned word, often associated with religion! And, what we are NOT doing here is studying about religion. What we are working toward in this series is a personal relationship with God – as Abba – Father, Jesus – as savior, and the Holy Spirit – as comforter, counselor and friend.
Religion, just as it did in Jesus’ day, will cause your God-image to drop like a rock. Religion crusified Christ.
Religion kills Christians!
It is impossible for true followers of Christ to live up to all of the demands made by religion. We cannot continually be righteous, live our lives God’s way, while trying to live up to all those “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not” rules imposed upon us by the world’s legalistic view of who or what we should be.
It won’t work.
Not at all. Period.
When we try, we fall short. When we fall short we feel guilty. When we start feeling guilty, we take on the condemnation that has been feeding our negative thinking all along. When we start thinking in negatives again – we’re right back to the defeated mind set we’re trying to change. And so–like some dizzying amusement park ride, around and around we go.
“There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus. ” Romans 8:1
God’s way of doing and being right
So, this week you’re going to plant God’s Word deeply in your heart so you can see what his way of doing and being “right” is really all about.
Jesus’ life on earth was the perfect example for us. He was human and so He can sympathize with us because, “He was tempted in every way, as we are.” Hebrews 4:15 Yet, we know he lived his life God’s way, doing right and pleasing the Father in all things.
During the coming week, your goal is to read through John’s Gospel twice.
The book contains twenty-one chapters, so that works out to reading six chapters each day for seven days.
I know. That sounds like a lot. But really, it isn’t. If it were a riveting mystery novel or a “top-ten best seller” you could probably read the whole book in a day or two. Right?
Granted, you’ve probably read the Gospel of John before. You may even have verses from the book committed to memory. The thing is – I want you to approach it a little differently this time.
A you read the Gospel of John this week you’ll be looking for some new ideas. Remember, you are God’s child. The things Jesus did – He did for you. The things He taught are to benefit you, personally. His victory over death, hell and the grave is YOUR victory.
In the first Epistle of John, chapter 4, verse 17 from Young’s Literal Translation we are told:
. . . because even as He is, we – we also are in this world; 1 John 4:17
In John’s Gospel , chapter 8, verses 31-32, the author quotes Jesus telling his followers:
“If you abide in my Word (hold fast to my teachings and live according to them), you are truly my disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32 AMP
And in chapter 10, verse 10 He said,
“I came so that you may have life and have it more abundantly. “
As you read this week please keep in mind the Lord was not always speaking to believers. Many times He was talking to his enemies. Watch closely for those verses where He spoke love, comfort and encouragement to his followers. Those verses are your promises. Make a note in your Bible when you find a promise. Also, watch for and make note of the verses that are teachings He wanted his followers to incorporate into their daily lives.
By seeking out the promises and the precepts in the Lord’s teachings we can begin to understand how much we have been offered, and how little God expects in return. God’s LOVE is patient and kind. God’s love is not demanding. God’s love never fails. God’s love will never fail YOU. God loved you enough to send his one and only Son to purchase your salvation; purchase it by dying on a Roman cross.
Last week, as you studied First John, you learned God IS love.
The second time you read John’s Gospel, take it chapter by chapter, or section by section, and ask yourself these questions at the end of every one:
1. Is anything here speaking to ME, right now?
2. Is there anything here that will help me do things differently–do things God’s way?
3. What is being said here about MY personal relationship with Christ?
At the end of the week you will have completed an outline of the promises, the teachings and your personal insights into Christ’s example for your life. I suggest you review this outline carefully. And often. You will gain amazing strength and power from your findings. You might want to read it out loud, listening to every promise to internalize it further.Then, if you’re comfortable with the idea, share what you’ve learned with someone else.
Don’t forget to keep praying “your” prayer from Ephesians every day, too.