“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith just as you were instructed . . .” Colossians 2:6-7
As a leader of this ministry committed to instructing women in God’s Word, “just as you were instructed . . . ” is my favorite line! I love to communicate and teach the truth of God. That’s the ONE thing God’s specifically asked me to do.
When I read that phrase I also recall all the ways I’ve received instruction. Being instructed myself is not always as much fun as instructing others. Maybe that’s because I learn things the hard way.
One of my earliest memories was learning John 3:16 at 18 months. (Not that I really remember it, but I’ve been reminded of that feat often enough.) My young life was saturated with Bible learning–at church several times a week, summer camp, and Christian school. Then as an adult, my job involved listening to radio Bible teachers in order to write advertising copy. I listened to biblical instruction for hours a day . . . read books . . . attended seminars . . . .
You’d think with that background, I would understand who God was. Yet even with lots of head knowledge, my heart was cold to the Truth of a living, loving God.
Much too far into my grown-up life, I asked God to give me a passion for His Word. I could see that those other teachers of the Word experienced something much deeper when they opened their Bibles than I did. I wanted that for myself–not just to read and know–but to confidently live in God’s Word. When I verbalized that desire, that’s when I truly began to be instructed in the Word.
These words in Psalm 119:73-77 (The Message) remind me of God’s instruction. I’ll take it line-by-line to show God’s model for instruction:
1. “With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.” God’s breath–His Spirit instructs us. That’s an incredible gift we receive at salvation–the Spirit of God within us, who convicts us of wrong and convinces us of the truth.
2. “When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad.” God’s Word instructs us. These words on a page are also a living Word. It’s one of those wonderful mysteries of Jesus . . . that He was the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us.
Andrew Murray tells us this:
“Study much to know the written Word, but study more to know the living Word, in whom you are of God. Jesus, the wisdom of God, is only known by a life of implicit confidence and obedience. The words He speaks are spirit and life to those who live in Him.” (Abide in Christ, pg. 63)
3. “I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right.” God instructs us through the difficult moments in life. When everything we hold onto in this world seems to be gone, we learn what’s true and right in God’s eyes. We grow and mature when we learn that God’s decisions are right.
4. “Oh, love me–and right now!–hold me tight! Just the way you promised.” God also teaches us through His people. Sometimes they are close enough to touch us; sometimes they bring a word or note of encouragement. People who speak the Truth to you give an up-close view of God. Some call this showing “Jesus with skin on.”
5. “Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to.” We respond to God’s instruction with praise. At the same time, we learn more about our great God. Praise brings new revelation . . . and we long for more.
God’s Word should delight us in a way that sets us free . . . free to dance in His presence.
Mind if I pray for you?
God, there is someone reading this today with a ridiculous amount of head-knowledge about Your Word, but her heart is still empty. Stir her in places that words alone fail to reach–tender places that bring her to tears, dry places that make her thirsty for You, overwhelming places that bring her to the end of herself. Then open her eyes to the wonder of living free in Your presence. Amen.