“Maybe this will be the one,” I thought. “The event that will change my life.”
I used to search for the conference, Bible study or sermon that would change my life. If I could attend a certain conference or spend the weekend listening to these amazing sermons, I believed I would come away a changed woman and would live for God the rest of my life.
I’ve learned my life is not changed by a weekend, a particular Bible study written by a popular author, a mission trip or any other short-term event. Yes, these are all positive influences in my life and they take me one more step toward my goals, but when I return home, I find I’m still a woman who struggles with selfishness, jealousy, laziness, apathy and pride.
I’ve learned it’s what I do every day that changes my heart and my life.
“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” (John 8:32) is an often-quoted Bible verse, but it’s an incomplete quote.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him;
‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”
How do we know the truth?
By abiding in His word. Strong’s Bible Concordance defines the original word as “to stay, abide, continue, dwell…remain.” Someone who wants to follow Jesus will continue in His word. Abiding involves reading and/or studying His word regularly. The promise is if we abide in, live in, continue in His word, then we will know the truth. As His truth takes root in our hearts and minds, we are set free.
How are we set free?
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
His truth goes into my heart and reveals the secrets of my thoughts and intentions. His truth shows me where pride is corrupting my motives. His truth makes it clear if the world or the flesh is deceiving me.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
His truth sets me free by teaching me what I need to know, by rebuking me when I’m wrong, by correcting me when I head the wrong way and by training me in righteousness (living right before God), equipping me for the good works God wants me to do.
Skipping one dessert doesn’t change my body, but choosing a healthy snack over dessert on most days will, in time, do so.
Exercising twice a month won’t help my heart, but exercising on most days will over time strengthen my heart.
Immersing myself in God’s word one weekend won’t change my life.
Making His word a part of my life daily will, however, change my heart over time. I may begin to study His word every day and after a week think, “I don’t see any changes.” But if I continue to sow His word into my heart every day, in time, those seeds will grow.
His truth will change me.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
His word will never return empty.
If we persevere in knowing and meditating on His word, hiding it in our hearts and keeping it in our minds, over time it will accomplish His purpose. It will change our hearts and minds. It will set us free from lies and deceit.
We would like change to be easy.
If we could just attend one Bible conference and be changed forever, everyone would attend! The truth is change comes with the choices we make each day. Perhaps that’s why Jesus taught that anyone who wants to follow Him must take up their cross “daily.”(Luke 9:23) Following Him means self-denial on a daily basis and choosing His way over mine.
Jesus, please help me to make that choice every day. Help me to choose you over this world. Thank you for the incredible gift of your Word. Help me to keep putting it into my mind and heart every day. Thank you, Jesus!