The Power of the Word of God

The Power of the Word of God

Grade cards and job performance reviews create some anxiety. However, an evaluation process is essential for improvement. As important as it is to receive outside feedback, we dread criticism. It is natural for us to want to hear people say, “You are terrific just the way you are.” But, that kind of feedback doesn't help us improve.

As believers, we improve by measuring our walk against the Word of God, the Bible. God's Word causes us to be exposed to the truth about ourselves and compels us to change how we think and what we do. It doesn't feel good. It produces good.

Hebrews 4:12 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.

The Word of God cuts through all our defenses, deceptions, motives, and pride. It clashes with our worldly philosophies. We are not to change the Word of God. It is meant to change us. And we need to be changed, whether it makes us feel good or not.

We don't like facing the truth about ourselves. And, we don't like others knowing our faults. So, we cover up our weaknesses and faults. We are, by nature, defensive. So, we put up emotional walls. We avoid situations that would uncover our faults. We hide our sins. But, God's word penetrates our defenses and exposes our cover-ups.

By faith in Jesus, we have been given a new identity—child of God, with the goal of becoming like Jesus. Therefore, when the Word of God comes into contact with unrighteousness in our lives, it leads us into righteousness. Where there is oppression, the Word of God brings freedom. Where there is sin, the Word of God shows the way to forgiveness and repentance. Where there is wrong, the Word of God will make things right.

Jesus, the Word made flesh, was in a constant state of making things right. When He encountered the sick, He made them well. He forgave the sinner. He challenged the religious oppressors. He taught the ignorant. He brought light to the darkness. The Living Word won't settle for a superficial relationship. So, He cuts past our excuses. He cuts past our explanations. He cuts past our image of ourselves. He gets to the truth and exposes falsehood.

Are you acting out of fear? God's Word reveals that. Are you motivated out of selfish ambition? That gets exposed, too. Is lust driving you? God's Word reveals that. The Word exposes what is hidden and warns us of the consequences. Such warnings include encouragement for what is right, and a list of things that we need to change in our life.

God's Word comes in many forms. Sometimes it comes from privately meditating on Scripture. Sometimes, it comes from a friend who notices something contrary to the Word. Sometimes, it comes directly from the Holy Spirit, reminding us of what God said.

Jesus frequently asked the question, “What does the Scriptures say?” The Bible is the standard against which our thoughts and actions are judged. Will you accept it or reject it? Unfortunately, many reject the authority of the Word. Consequently, they reject Jesus.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Jesus is alive! Therefore, the Word of God is alive, and it has power to change things whenever it interacts with people. If the Word is in you, you will be changed and you will have power to be a change agent as you live by the Word.

No book in the history of mankind has been attacked, ridiculed, and scoffed at like the Bible. For two thousand years, people have tried to exterminate it, replace it, and drive it from existence. They will never understand the power of God’s Word because they don’t want to know. They have stopped up their ears to the Truth and choose not to hear it.

What is truly sad is that many Christians have failed to recognize the importance of the Word of God. They relegate it to being just another book on the shelf. When someone tells them that it has the answers to life’s problems, they become skeptical. These same Christians will run all over the countryside looking for the latest self-help program, and entirely miss the Truth in God’s Word.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

If the Bible isn’t the final authority for you, Satan will make sure you have something else to take its place. He would rather see you spend hours reading other books or searching the internet than spend five minutes in God’s Word. Do you know why? Because the Word of God is “alive and active”. It not only has the answers for our problems, but it is the answer to our problems!

Isaiah 55:10-11 “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.”

A man once told me he only believed the red letters of the Bible because it was God’s Word and the rest was man’s word. He is clearly deceived.

2 Peter 1:16-21 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Still, many Christians have a difficult time really believing that the Bible is that powerful and effective in our lives today. They know it tells about the essentials of Christianity, but they have a hard time accepting the fact that its answers are truly relevant in today’s world. So they don’t obey what it says. Then they wonder why they have problems.

“That was for a different age. Things are different today,” they say. So they reinterpret the Word to fit their belief. They are making a huge mistake, for they are twisting it like the devil does to deceive us. Thus, they deceive themselves.

Too many Christians are sitting on the fence of indecision regarding God’s Word. But, not deciding is a decision. One reason we don’t read it is because it forces us to decide. We cannot pick and choose from it. Either we can trust every “jot and tittle” of it as the Word of God, or it is just an old relic full of lies, fables, and opinions! Trying to find a “middle ground” to build your life upon is like building your house on the sand.

1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. (They wouldn’t commit.)

Joshua 24:15 “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

This is the challenge we are faced with today. If God’s Word is true, if we can really trust and believe what it says, then let us make a complete commitment to follow what it says! Otherwise, we will be deceived.

James 1:21-22 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Psalm 19:7-11 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

The first thing we should note is that the Word of God is “perfect”. We must trust what God’s Word says to us. We cannot take bits and pieces of it, somehow fit it into our own “theology” and scrap what does not feel good. We must understand and believe that the whole Bible is true and perfect. Until we get to the point of being able to do this, we cannot please God and we cannot hope to receive His blessings. There is no hope for the doubting, “double-minded man”.

James 1:6-8 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Once we have established in our hearts that the Word of God is perfect and are determined to live by it, we will see that the Word sets us free!

John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed 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.”

As we live by the truth of God’s Word, we will put aside every sin that easily entangles us. We will come to the Word meekly. Instead of thinking we already know it, we will consider whether or not we are doing it. We will allow the Word to teach us and mold us into the image of Christ.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

This transformation will not take place overnight! We are changed from one degree of glory to another as we meditate on the Word and conform to it. Through the Word, the Holy Spirit works this transformation. It is by willing and persistent obedience to the requirements of the Word that godly patterns are developed and become a part of us.

Using the Bible every day disciplines us. Discipline brings liberty. People in the world have been brainwashed to believe the opposite (Do what feels good!). They think freedom and liberty come only by throwing out structure and discipline. That is a lie.

Liberty comes through the Word of God, not apart from it. Conforming to God’s Word gives us His grace to change, to put off sin, to put on righteousness, and thus to become like Jesus. The key to it is faithfulness. We must develop this habit in our life regardless of how we feel. Not only will we start losing the desire to sin, but we will start acquiring the desire to do the right things. We will bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

If we want to feel like a victorious Christian, then we must obey the Word! As we start engraining God’s Word in our mind, we will start seeing how to live His Word in our life. We will have power to live the Christian life because our faith will be constantly empowered by the Holy Spirit who reminds us of God’s Word.

The Bible will actually start coming alive to you! Every time you face a new situation, the first thing will be to ask yourself how the Scriptures would have you respond. As a result, your whole life will change! Instead of being a half-hearted, uncommitted Christian, you will start seeing everything through the Word of God and your faith will grow incredibly.

Another thing that will happen will be that you will learn to handle temptation the way Jesus did. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, He handled it the same way every time by saying, “It is written…” This is what we need to do. When Satan comes against us with a temptation, we need to say, “It is written…”

If you can’t recall a relevant Scripture during temptation, you can quote Jesus:

Matthew 16:23 “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

If the Word was only words, then our contact with God would only be intellectual. But the Word has become flesh. He is alive and His words are alive. And now He is able to abide in us. As we read the Bible, we are not just acquiring knowledge. Something powerful is happening. More than our thinking is affected. We are touched and changed at the deepest place of our beings. It is not an idea coming into our heads, it is a person (the Word, Jesus Christ) communicating with us. Jesus steps out of the pages and into our lives by His Spirit, who abides in us and speaks to us, convicting us, changing us, whispering words of love, and preparing us to be the Bride of Christ. Through this intimacy, we come to know Jesus and we fall in love with Him. We want to obey Him!

2 Timothy 3:14-17 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 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.

The writers of the Gospels and epistles of the New Testament used the Old Testament for their training. What they wrote became the New Testament and it describes how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament and how we can learn from it.

Some people say, “I don’t understand the Bible.” Without the Spirit, we cannot understand it or experience its power. The Word is spiritually discerned.

So, have you been born again of the Spirit of God? Without this birth, not only can we not understand the Bible, we cannot enter Heaven. The good news is Jesus came to die for our sin so we may have eternal life in Heaven. Therefore, repent of your sinful life and make Jesus your Lord and Master. Obey Him in baptism, receive His forgiveness, and you will be born again of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will give you understanding of the Word and the power of God’s Word will change you.