“The one who has kept my commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” John 14:21
My first book was a devotional called The Whisper of God. It was written around ordinary life events that happened to me that illustrated how God spoke to me, encouraged me, provided and rebuked me. The important part of these lessons always tied back to scripture though. There was no lesson with God revealing Himself to me. Just as John 14:21 says, He will show Himself to those who keep His commands, but it doesn’t say He will do so in a cloud of fire or grand vision. God reveals Himself through His written word – scripture!
I’ve encountered many people along my path through ministry and life. Many who will say they could never believe what the Bible says or that God is real. I always ask them if they have read the Bible. Interestingly, their answer is always no. Those who claim they could never believe haven’t even read the Bible. Those who are waiting for some divine visitation to believe have never opened the scriptures and looked for God in the most reliable place. They have given up and formed an opinion before even examining the facts.
This burdens my heart. I wonder why it’s so difficult for some to trust. Is it a broken relationship with their earthly father, difficult life circumstances they can’t come to grip with, a fear of letting go of control or being loved wholeheartedly?
I’ll never forget one of my first reviews on Amazon, “Sorry, but the inside content doesn’t really help you see God in the ordinary. . . ” That stung a bit until I realized this buyer was probably counting more on me to offer her direction than she was on the scriptures. I promise you that if you look at the “inside content” of His written word, God will never let you down. He will reveal Himself to you. You can read every Bible study written by someone who speaks to thousands or by me who only speaks to hundreds and you will never see God revealed in the way you will if you focus on His written word. The words of Bible study teachers, authors and commentators should only be a guide or an encouragement that lights the path to your face-to-face with God through His God-breathed Word.
If you were coloring your hair for the first time, would you just open the box and hope for the best without reading the instructions? Would you try to remember what your girlfriend told you at your last girl’s night out about how she did it? Or would you sit and read each step before beginning? Don’t get me wrong! Hair is super important! I would probably read the directions 6 times before beginning if I ever even got up the nerve to do it myself. In the same way, how can we keep the commands if we haven’t read them? Jesus is WAY more important than hair – even if I do get too caught up in a bad hair day now and then.
I pray that no matter what person or study you are looking to as your guide, you will use it as a tool to open your eyes to God’s Word and not as God Himself.