His Words Are Life
I love puns! I love a good play on words. I love alliteration, and good literary consonance. I also enjoy some rap and hip-hop; especially the ones that tell a story or move a point through the use of carefully crafted and selected rhyming patterns and syllables. I think part of the reason I enjoy the literary form so much is because a big part of my job is telling the story of the Bible through my own literary form. Every sermon I preach is planned out and crafted, and I have the practice (as imposed on me by my homiletical instructors) of writing everything I plan to say down on a manuscript. During any given weekend we can have a range of people joining our church for worship; from people who've grown up with all the Christian lingo, to people who may be unfamiliar with some of the basic stories we take for granted. My intention then with every sermon is to carefully craft my words in such a way that I am able to (hopefully) appeal to those seasoned Christians and also to those "unsalted" by the stories of the Gospel. (That last line was both a Bible reference and a pun! I just couldn't resist..) Choosing my words carefully is incredibly important because words have power. Certain words mean different things to different people, and other words carry a world of baggage and connotation used in specific contexts. Words are so much more than just a compilation of letters and sounds; words are life!
45 When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel,
46 he said to them,
“Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day,
so that you may command your children
to obey carefully all the words of this law.
47 They are not just idle words for you
—they are your life.
By them you will live long in the land
you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Deuteronomy 32:45-47 (NIV)
The most important words are those that we find in the story of the Bible. We often call the Bible "the Word (capital W) of God" because of the significance and power we ascribe to the story the Bible teaches us. There are lots of stories and words in the Bible but ultimately the Bible serves one purpose: to point us to the Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God. That story demonstrates to us the God who was willing to lay down His life so that we might find freedom from the slavery of sin and death. Other parts of the Bible highlight to us the destruction sin causes and teaches us to choose the path of life in obedience of the God who gave it all for us. The Bible points us to Jesus, and points us to the power of the Holy Spirit that transforms our lives to live a life more like Jesus; one of love, obedience, and service. Through following the path of Jesus we break out of the path of death sin has us on and begin our journey on the path of life towards God. The story of the Bible is so much more than just the words on the page. It's not just a "self-help" book. It's not just a guidelines for good-living kind of book. The Bible, and the word of God is life. It leads us into life, and life eternal. Therefore these are not just idle words, they are your life and so be doers of the word and not hearers only.
22 Be doers of the word,
and not hearers only
James 1:22 (ESV)
God help me to take your Word and your teachings to heart. Do not let them be idle words to me, help me to be a doer of the word and not just a hearer. I pray that as I study your Word you would transform me and mold me into a disciple of your gospel sharing the transformative message of Jesus to all those around me. Help me to hear your words and live. AMEN