I want to talk about Scripture, and when I say Scripture, I am talking about the Word of God, the Old and New Testaments combined, with all sixty-six books.
But why? Why is this important to talk about? In contemporary times, it feels that more and more people are either trying to add other so-called 'holy' texts to the Old and New Testament by giving them equal authority, or they are trying to demean the authority of the Bible as our basis of divine truth.
1 Peter 3:15 says to give a reason for the hope that we have in Christ.
That hope relies on the authority and the truth of Scripture.
Psalm 119:105 says His Word is a lamp unto our feet. It is our guide, and if we don't have our guide in life, we are walking around aimlessly.
So, truly, the question that really needs to be asked first is: how do we know we can trust the Bible? This is essential because the Bible, or Scripture, stands at the centre of Christian teaching. If we lose that basis, then the teachings that we live by appear to be based only on thin air.
There is much reasoning that can be done with this particular question starting with pointing out that the Bible is a compilation of books written by 40 different authors over 2000 years and somehow it manages to remain in perfect harmony with itself regarding the matters of prophecies and doctrine.
But I want to remind you all of a verse that I think we can have a tendency to forget in the midst of trying to provide logic and reasoning to belief in Christ.
Hebrews 11:6 NIV says, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
Here Paul is teaching us that clearly, we must come to Him with earnest faith.
In other words, if we're only looking to rationalise God and place Him in a box, we're not going to get far and whenever you are giving the hope that you have in Christ, no matter how much reason you add to the reliability of Scripture or the Resurrection of Christ, in the end, what it really comes down to is faith.
Let's return back to Scripture before I get too off topic again. To summarise how we can know the Bible is the Word of God is based on the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV,
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness"
In context, Paul is referring only to the Old Testament, however, it is safe to say that the New Testament is inspired by God and because we can say this, it is also useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
Now, I want to get to the core of my message today which mainly revolves around daily devotionals and the importance of daily devotionals in our lives. When I say devotionals, I'm not entirely talking about plans that have passages designated to read and a little message for each day.
It can also mean simply reading a chapter, or more, from your Bible daily and meditating on that in prayer.
In the past, I have paralleled reading Scripture with the manna from Heaven during the 40 years in the desert.
Briefly, manna was sent down from Heaven, it was sufficient for the day but only for that particular day and would be rotten the next morning.
I want to bring this point up again to emphasise the truth of it. In our Christian walks, we need that daily refreshment in our lives and as we progress in this message, we will begin to see why.
In the Old Testament, God told the Israelites to choose that day whom they would serve. This applies to following Christ as well. Though we are saved by accepting Christ into our lives and surrendering to Him, daily, we must choose to lay down our desires and follow Him. If we are needing to do this daily, would it not also make sense to refresh our minds daily with His Word?
In Ephesians 6, Paul talks about the armour of God and out of this entire armour set, one piece is used on the offense: the sword of the Spirit.
Ephesians 6:17 NIV says, "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
In other words, Scripture, our Bibles.
But how do we use the sword of the Spirit? By filling our minds with the truth of His Word daily and when it say, sword, its not meaning metaphorically. This sword is spiritual and convicts the innermost parts of our souls.
Hebrews 4:12 NIV says, "For the word of God is living 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."
Scriptures teaches us to remain alert and on guard. We cannot allow our minds to grow dull lest we fall trap to one of Satan's lies.
Perhaps, to emphasis the importance of daily devotionals from a positive negative. The Bible says that the enemy is like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
No where in Scripture does it say Satan doesn't take a day off of attacking God's children, so why should we take a day off of reading His Word? If Scripture is the sword and we daily require it to fight this spiritual battle we are engaged in, would it not make sense to dig into His Word daily?
Now, I know that for some, daily devotionals aren't easy to maintain. I've struggled from time to time to pick up my Bible and read it daily. But here's the thing, if you will allow me to compare reading Scripture to one more thing.
Reading Scripture is like going to the gym. Its hard to get the motivation to do it a couple of times a week, let alone every day but once we get to the gym and start working out (apart from those who like to just go for the massages :P) and you feel your muscles being stretched, it feels good.
In the same way, spiritually speaking, reading the Bible refreshes our minds and spirit. It nurtures us and the struggle to open our Bibles is forgotten as He begins to teach us.
There is much more that can be said on daily devotionals, but I hope and pray this is sufficient so that you may all be empowered and encouraged with reading His Word each day.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV)