Our Greatest Need
I have been greatly challenged recently on my need to make time for Bible Study. I have to admit that my daily habit has struggled since I have become a mother. It’s always amazing to me how quickly priorities can be shifted to something else and our focus moved from where it should be.
What’s harder is that I know this, I am well aware of the fact that it’s an issue that needs addressing and consistent diligence to bring back to the priority it should be. I feel like Paul who said, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)
While I was working at camp, we would always encourage our program directors and outtrip directors to make sure that the planned and scheduled the spiritual content for their programs. This was because we always have known and have observed that that is the first thing to be cut when things do not go quite as planned. Even I experienced that as a leader. I had to be very deliberate and intentional in my programming in terms of the spiritual aspect if it was going to happen.
“Why is it so hard to get people to study the Scriptures? Common sense tells us what revelation commands: ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’–‘Search the Scriptures’–‘Be ready to give to every one a reason of the hope that is in you.’ These are the words of the inspired writers, and these injunctions are confirmed by praising those who obey the admonition. And yet, for all that we have the Bible in our houses, we are ignorant of its contents. No wonder that so many Christians know so little about what Christ actually taught; no wonder that they are so mistaken about the faith that they profess.”
― William Wilberforce, Real Christianity
It is so important though, because through spending time with God in His Word and being taught by the Holy Spirit, we will learn more about the charter of God. When we know more about who God is, we can discern His voice and leading more easily. He becomes a source of wisdom, the One who we allow to guide us and we more fully understand His calling for our lives.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The problem comes when we begin to feel like we can manage our day to day in our own strength. I believe that it is only when we fully understand our desperate need for the work of Christ in our lives, that spending time with Him in His Word and in prayer will be a priority. If we choose to believe that we are capable in our own strength, we won’t make the time.
I think to begin with, we need to remember what Christ said in John 15:4-5. He said “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
If a branch on a vine is going to grow and bear fruit, it needs to tap into all of the nutrients and life that comes from the vine. It can’t pretend that it is a separate plant or strong enough on its own because to be separated from the vine ultimately means death!
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25
Christ understood and modeled the concept perfectly for us! In Mark 1:35 we find that “in the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.” He knew He needed the Father and even proclaimed in John 5:19, “truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”
Even others recognized that He needed the Father working through Him to accomplish the things He could. The man who was blind, when further questioned by the Pharisees who stated that Christ was not from God, boldly said, “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” John 9:33
Paul also boldly stated, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
So, I guess the question becomes, “Do we believe we are enough on our own”? Or do we recognize our desperate need for Christ to be at work in and through us?
How diligently and fervently will we tap into the life and strength to be found in the vine?
“Outside of Christ, I am weak; in Christ, I am strong.” Watchman Nee
*Originally posted on The Eddy blog in 2016