All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)
We are looking this week at four operations of the Scripture that help us with our relationship with God and each other.
The first of these is TEACHING – which is Scripture helping us to understand, or being able to know the track or pathway God would have us walk; both in the way we have our relationship with Him, and with all His created order…our neighbors!
The second operation is REPROOF – how the Bible shows us we’ve slid off the track. The word means to tell a fault. The Bible tells us very clearly about the kinds of attitudes and behaviors that will derail our lives.
There are a lot of those attitudes and behaviors!
I’ve been preaching since 1978, and have preached/taught a congregation or small group about 8,500 times (if you don’t count these devotions). My commitment is always to preach God’s Word and the truth contained (which includes those things that derail our lives).
And yet, with all that time, study and energy invested, I sense I’ve only scratched the thinnest part of the surface. Like John Newton wrote, through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; there are lots of land mines on the Christian Pilgrim’s pathway!
So, I’ve spent the first half of this devotion telling you something you already knew:
Life is messy and complex, and there are whole hosts of ways to get derailed!
So, what’s the point of this point – “reproof…being told I’ve messed up”?
The point is not to mess-up further by failing to hear all about your mess-up.
I’ve seen it enough as a preacher, that when you start meddling in people’s attitudes and behavior (you know the song…not my brother, nor my sister, but it’s me, o Lord)…a switch in the mind can be turned off quite rapidly! You begin to wonder what’s for lunch IF this preacher ever quits talking; you count the ceiling tiles, or rehearse in your mind what you are going to say to the mother of that toddler about noise in church. In short, you do whatever is necessary to drown-out the hard truth about what’s driven you off that track you and God agreed was best for your life.
Tomorrow’s point of the operation of Scripture will deal with correcting what has derailed us, but before you can begin to correct anything, you’ve got to know exactly what did the derailing.
And God is good at that!
And what we should be good at is listening to Him speak.
Often in church as the leader begins the reading of God’s Word (or at the end) s/he will say: Hear the word of the Lord.
Hear the word of the Lord!