Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Handout (04/14/11)
- TITLE: Into The Deep
By Ekua Bartlett-Mingle
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Now I think about that and realize that undergrads are not alone in this phenomenon. Many of us Christians live on spiritual handouts. Ouch! That touches a raw nerve perhaps, but let me explain.
We sit in church each Sunday and absorb the Preacher’s message. We dutifully take notes and underline our Bibles but many times we don’t go further even at home to meditate on the word and discover the deeper meanings the Holy Spirit would impress on our hearts if we would dig deeper into the word.
We are content to live on what comes from the pulpit (not that that is wrong in its self) without reaching for more of God through personal times of devotion; prayer and Bible Study. We see the Pastor as responsible for our spiritual nurturing without realizing that while that is true, we have a personal obligation to grow in the grace and knowledge of God (2 Pet 3:18). When we live this way we become overly dependent on the Sunday Morning sermon for our spiritual nourishment and easy prey to strange doctrines and deception of the enemy.
The writer of the book of Acts commends the Bereans as follows “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11, NIV). To their credit the Bereans, were diligent with the scriptures. They accepted Paul’s teaching but also went further to search the scriptures to confirm all that Paul was teaching. They wanted that personal assurance for themselves that this was the truth. And they found it.
Searching the scriptures for ourselves transforms our knowledge of God from just being a handout to a personal revelation. Now let me say here that I am in no way undermining the power of preaching and teaching to transform lives. I am the first to testify of how messages from the pulpit, have ministered to, healed and brought deliverance to my life. Just as I expect that when I minister to others in the Word, they should be transformed.
However most often to realize the full benefit of the message in my life, it has taken further meditation on that word and further search of the Bible, coupled with prayer to assimilate the word fully and reap the desired results in my life. Otherwise like the undergrad who relies only on the handout, I would be a shallow Christian, without enough personal knowledge of and faith in the Word of God to make it through life’s tests.
No matter how good our Pastor may be, we also need to develop our walk with God by a daily devotion with Him, through prayer, worship and studying of His Word. Our times of personal devotion are critical to our spiritual health. God’s admonishment in the Book of Joshua is relevant for each of us in our spiritual journey; “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8, NIV).
Sermons are a great source of information, inspiration and transformation. They are very helpful guides and eye openers and without them many a lost or misguided soul would not be saved from wandering in the wilderness or rescued from self-destruction. However let’s use them wisely; let’s not become lazy and forever happy to be spoon fed, waiting for the next serving to satisfy the hunger of our souls. Let’s be hungry enough to reach for that Bible, yes together with those well written notes, and let’s ask the Holy Spirit to further reveal Himself to us as we launch into the deep! And God is faithful; He will daily satisfy our hunger with the richest of fare!
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