64 – Power and Joy: Benefits from the Bible
It’s become fashionable today to talk about seeking God. Politicians, writers, businessmen – it seems everyone is talking about spiritual issues and spiritual things. Television shows explore the topic and books on spiritual issues fill the bestseller lists. It appears that everyone is interested in looking for God – that is until someone actually claims to have found Him.
In our culture today it is considered arrogant for anyone to claim that they have found the truth. And why not? After all, how can any one person say they’ve found “THE TRUTH?”
This is actually a good question. If I were to say I’ve found the absolute truth only on my authority then I really have no right to make this claim. There are a lot of people smarter than me, there are a lot of questions I will never answer, places I will never see, etc. On my own I could never possibly discover absolute truth. How could I ever be sure that the “truth” I’ve found won’t be overturned by something new I discover later?
So if we are ever to find truth that is absolute and complete, it must come an authority we can trust. This authority must know everything, so that there is no chance of any new information or idea invalidating the truth.
This authority must also be infinite, because if there was any place he wasn’t, there would be the possibility that the real truth was lurking there. Since we are finite creatures with limited knowledge, this means that truth must come from outside of ourselves.
This is why a Christian view of truth is based on revelation – that the infinite, holy, perfect God has revealed Himself to us.
He reveals himself to us in many ways. He reveals himself to us in the world and the beauty of his creation. He reveals himself to us in our experience, in the ways that he cares for us and directs our lives. But he reveals himself in a special way in the Bible. This is God’s truth communicated to us in clear language that we can understand.
When we are willing to admit our need for God’s truth, we can go to the Bible and hear His voice. And when we immerse ourselves in the Bible, God gives us all the truth we need.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11
THE BIBLE GIVES POWER
The older I get, the more I realize that I need power. I am so weak in and of myself, much too weak for the demands placed upon me. I need power as a friend, a husband, a father, a worker, a churchman – in every area of my life I need the wisdom and strength of Christ.
The Bible gives power because the Bible is truth. It “makes wise the simple” (v. 7) and “gives light to the eyes” (v. 8). It gives us power because it helps us make sense of the world.
The truth is powerful and liberating. I can remember when my son Ryan was young, he would often get those cheap “kid’s meal” type toys. Several times over a period of a year or two Ryan would be just beginning to play with a toy when it would break. The disappointment would flash across Ryan’s face and then he would cry hysterically for several minutes before finally calming down.
One day when he was a little older, Ryan was beginning to play with a new toy that he had “bought” with some tickets at a carnival, and the toy broke in his hands. I thought to myself, “Oh no. Here it comes.” And then I waited. But Ryan just put the pieces down and walked away.
I walked over to where Ryan was playing and knelt down. “Ryan,” I asked, “are you sad about your broken toy?” He turned to me and shrugged, “What do you expect? It probably only cost 50 cents.” Then he went back to playing. When Ryan understood the truth about the quality of the toy, it set him free. The Bible gives us the ability to see the world as it really is. We can align our values, expectations, beliefs and priorities with God’s. The truth transforms us so that we see the world through God’s eyes.
That’s where the power comes from. We are no longer prisoners of our expectations and imaginations, God’s truth breaks the chains and floods the dark dungeon with light.
But not only does the Bible bring power, it also brings joy.
THE BIBLE BRINGS JOY
When was the last time your stomach hurt from laughing so hard? When was the last time you wanted to skip or shout? When was the last time you found yourself looking at God’s creation and just couldn’t keep the smile from breaking out on your face? If you’re like me, you could use a little more joy.
What robs you of your joy? The Westminster Confession of Faith says that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” This means that we were made to glorify and enjoy God. So when we find our joy is gone, perhaps it is because we are not doing what we were meant to do.
Take this simple test. Get a pen and some scrap paper. Without looking at the paper, draw a circle. Still without looking at the paper, draw a square that surrounds the circle. Again without looking at the paper, draw a triangle inside the circle so that the corners of the triangle touch the edge of the circle.
Now open your eyes and look at the paper. How did you do?
If you’re like most people, you didn’t do very well. The reality is that some things that are almost impossible to do in the dark become easy in the light.
We often get frustrated because our lives are not working. When the light of God’s truth shines in our hearts, He shows us how to deal with difficult issues we face. And what seemed impossible becomes manageable by His grace.
God’s truth brings joy because it teaches us how to live life as it was meant to be. He shows us how to endure hardship, how to sacrificially love our spouse, how to serve aging parents, and how to have patience with rebellious children.
God’s word brings joy because it relieves us of the responsibility of having to figure things out on our own. We really do have someone we can trust, someone who will lead us by the hand. By following His guidance we can find joy in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.
Every day we face the question of where we will look for truth. We can look to our own best ideas, we can look to the culture, we can look to friends, or we can look to God’s revealed truth in His holy word.
If we don’t make this decision on purpose, by reading and studying God’s word, this choice will be made for us. We can’t escape the messages of the culture and the influence of worldly ideas. But we can counteract them by intentionally filling our hearts and minds with the truth of God.
Do you need power? Would you like more joy? Look to God’s word and allow yourself “to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24).
1. What is one area of your life in which you need power? Write it here.
Use a Bible concordance to find at least 5 passages that speak to this issue or topic. You might also ask a friend or a pastor for help. Read those passages. How might God use these truths to give you power? Record your thoughts here.
2. What areas of your life are robbing you of your joy? How could the wisdom of God restore joy in these areas? Pray and ask Him to instill His truth in your heart in a new and fresh way.
© 2000 David Delk and Man in the Mirror.
David Delk is the Executive Director of Man in the Mirror.