YOUR WORD IS A LAMP TO MY FEET AND A LIGHT TO MY PATH. (Psalm 119:105)
I love to experience the Holy Spirit's moving. I love the emotions that come when in the presence of God. There is nothing like sensing that you are getting a glimpse of the Throne Room while in intense worship; when Heaven seems to open up so you can have a shadowy peek. I believe though that we can become so infatuated with experience/emotion that it becomes the most important thing in our walk with Jesus. Again, don't get me wrong, I crave and long for more of it, but it concerns me when people put so much emphasis on this, but seldom spend time studying and reading the Word. I think this is an error in judgment.
When Jesus was facing confrontation with the devil, He quoted the Word. He didn't mess around doing anything else. He immediately spoke the Word which is our sword according to Ephesians 6:17. In fact if you read that passage you will see that out of every piece of the armor that we are to put on, the sword of the spirit , which is the Word of God, is the ONLY offensive piece. We are told that the Word of God is "living and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow and is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) Shouldn't there be incredible emphasis put on reading and living according to the Bible? We can have all the emotion we want, but without a strong understanding of the Word, our lives won't change much if any at all.
I love the freedom to be expressive in worship. It's hard for me to go into a church service where expressive worship isn't practiced. It's hard for me to not at least stretch out my hands to the Lord. The only reason I sometimes resist doing this is because where it isn't practiced people tend to start looking at and watching the one doing it instead of staying focused on God. I don't think we should ever allow focus to be brought to ourselves in a worship setting. As much as I struggle with not being able to worship in that way, I struggle even more with people who constantly weep at the alter, dance in the spirit, speak in tongues, or laugh in the spirit (all things that I love) and yet live their daily life in defeat and sometimes like anything but a child of God. That should not be and often it shows a lack of drinking from the Word and sometimes a lack of prayer life. I'm not judging. I've counselled with enough people, though, to see a pattern.
To me, other than accepting Christ, the most important thing in the life of a Christian should be a knowledge of God's Word. We are too easily defeated without it. I've always loved the Word and before I took any class on the prophetic, or how to speak prophetic words into peoples lives I started to understand and see those types of things by personal study of the Word. That's one example. (It helps to understand, also that the gifts of the Spirit and miracles didn't go out with the Apostles. I know a lot of people who don't believe that certain gifts are still available today, so naturally they never operate in them and yet can quote scripture better than most.) Again, don't get me wrong. I think additional training is good and will only help us learn how to better minister to people, but never underestimate what an understanding of the Word will teach you.
Recently I heard a sermon from my parents pastor in Pennsylvania which has helped me to explain the importance of reading the Bible. What Pastor Brian basically said (with apologies to Brian because I know that he explained it much better than I will) was that reading the Bible more won't cause God to love you more. It doesn't mean that He will even bless you more. What it will do for you, however is keep you alerted to God's daily plans for you. You will be able to see them. You will better have the ability to understand where God is wanting to take you. You will find it easier to step into the favor that God desires for each one of us. God's provisions and blessings are always there. We are the ones who often miss them and the Word helps us to NOT miss them. This is why the Pharisees that encountered Jesus were so blinded. He was the LIVING WORD and they refused to listen to Him. Because of that they never were able to understand or experience and appreciate the miraculous things of God, nor were they able to please God. That and the fact that when they did study the law and scriptures they usually distorted what they read for personal gain, taking scriptures out of context, so they could puff themselves up while walking around basking in self righteousness.
Surely that doesn't happen today...............................
One day last week I came home very tired and filthy after a long day of work. I was irritable and grouchy. Oh, my poor wife! The first thing I did though, after taking a shower, was to read a couple of chapters in the Bible, specifically from the book of Acts. Before I knew it, my thoughts were taken off of myself and back onto the things of God. I remember feeling a surge of excitement for life and to be alive during a time where God wants to reawaken the church.
"HOW SWEET ARE YOUR WORDS TO MY TASTE, SWEETER THAN HONEY TO MY MOUTH! (Palm 119:103)
Read the Bible. It's good medicine for the soul!
Be good and be God's,