We kicked off our NEW series this past Sunday "40 Days in the Word." You can listen to the podcast at
http://www.wyandottefamily.com/listen.html or you can download it from iTunes
We talked about using our five senses to build our lives on the Bible. We spent the morning going over “hearing God’s Word or receiving it with our ears.” Let’s take a look at the 2nd sense “Sight.”
The second way to build my life on the Bible is to read it with my eyes.
I receive it with my ears but I read it with my eyes. I read the Bible. You cannot grow without reading the Bible. It is like trying to grow stronger without exercising or working out. It is like trying to become healthier but not eating your fruits or veggies. James 1:22-25 says this “Don’t merely listen to the Word, [in other words you ought to listen but don’t merely listen to the Word] and so deceive yourselves [because you’re going forget it] do what it says. Anyone who listens to the Word [of God] but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror [notice this mirror analogy. He says he looks at his face, his reflection in a mirror] and, after looking at himself he goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like! [That’s what happens a lot of times on Sunday. You hear a message and by the time you get to the parking lot you’ve already forgotten it. He looks in a mirror, looks at himself, but then he goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.] But [here’s the opposite] the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, [the Bible sets us free] and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does.”
One of the main reasons we are doing the 40 Days in the Word is so we cultivate a spiritual hunger and disciple of reading God’s Word every single day. To take God’s Word from being Sunday morning only to a part of our daily lives. In other words, we want you to be blessed. We want you to be blessed in every area of your life. We want God’s blessing on your family, on your work, on your finances, on your health. The Bible says if you will do these five things you will be blessed. So let’s go back and re-read James 1-22-25 and circle them. We talked about the first one. He said listen but here he says don’t merely listen. He said “the man who looks intently.” Circle “looks intently”. That’s one of the ways you get blessed. That’s reading the Bible. Taking and making time to look into the heart and will of God for your life.
Then he says and “continues to do this.” Circle “continues.” That’s reviewing the Bible. Then he says “not forgetting what he’s heard,” That’s remembering the Bible. Circle that one. Not forgetting, “but doing it…” That’s responding to the Bible. “he will be blessed in what he does.”
As we build our lives on the Bible to this capacity, we will be blessed. We will experience a fruitfulness and strength like never before. Let’s break each one of those down.
First it says, the person who looks intently… What’s he talking about here? He’s talking about reading the Bible. But when I read it I don’t speed read it. When I read the Bible I read it and I reflect on it. I think about it. I ponder it. I look intently. It says that the person who does this, it’s like looking in a mirror. Many times the Bible is compared to a mirror in Scripture. The Bible compares itself to a mirror.
What’s the purpose of a mirror? The purpose of a mirror is to evaluate ourselves. The Bible helps us do that. It’s the mirror of God’s Word that helps us evaluate ourselves. Every one of you did it sometime today. When you got up this morning, at some point most likely before you walked out the door, you paused and looked at a mirror to see how awesome you looked (or not so much lol). Then you evaluated what needed to be changed before you walked out that door. You fixed those few hairs out of place, used dental floss to get that black thing out of your tooth or fixed your shirt collar. Or you said I don’t have time to do that and put on a ball cap.
And by the way, did you know that the first Queen Elizabeth, during Shakespeare time, that as she got older that she lost her beauty, she had all of the mirrors removed from Buckingham Palace. Because she did not want to see the fact that she was growing older.There are two ways to look in a mirror. You can glance in mirror or you can gaze in a mirror.
Glance in a mirror... Remember Happy Days, the show Happy Days? Remember Fonzi? He’d walk past a mirror and he’d stopped and he’d go Hey! He didn’t do anything because he was pure perfection. He didn’t have to comb his hair or anything. He would glance.
We don’t want to do that with this mirror. We can’t just glance at the Word of God. That’s a quick, rushed, Lord, I’ve got two minutes. I’m going to look at it real quick and then leave. No. Glancing at the mirror of God’s Word isn’t going to help us change. We’ve got to gaze at it. We’ve got to gaze intently. We look at the details. God wants us not to glance at his Word but to gaze at his Word. To look intently.
During 40 Days in the Word were going to give you some Bible reading plans. There are lots of good ones. It doesn’t really matter. Just find one that fits you, fits your style. So you are systematically reading through portions of the Bible on a regular basis. You’re not doing this dip and skip method where you go, Lord what do you want me to know? And you put your finger down. That one doesn’t give you good results. We’ll talk about that in the home group studies. But you want to have a Bible reading plan because I want to receive God’s Word with my ear and I want to read God’s Word with my eyes. The third way to build your life on the Bible is will be gone over in my blog tomorrow (Wed.).
PS. These blogs are adapted from Rick Warren from the 40 Days in the Word Campaign. We launched this spiritual growth campaign January 5.