Years ago while visiting our family in Italy we looked for a church with the hope of worshiping with fellow believers. Having found a possibility we attended it, once. To our delight the service was held in a large and beautiful antiquated church with spiraling steeples &high ceilings that echoed as each person found a seat (all 10 of them). The Pastor began to read from the Psalms & he made a few comments with both a very stoic voice & rigid posture–as though he was reciting routinely. Afterwards I introduced myself to him and was surprised to find him quite friendly & animated. After several minutes of interesting conversation, I asked him if he believed what he had been sharing. He answered without apology, “No.” I was not surprised, but I was saddened. He had plenty of content, but lacked true conviction.
Ravi Zacharias tells an amusing anecdote about a country bumpkin type fellow who thinks he knows Scripture & wants to find a job preaching, so he goes to an interview. The interviewer says to him, “Please tell me how much you know about the Scriptures. For example tell me the story of the Good Samaritan.” The fellow responded, “I will, yes sir I will, I will.” And so he began.
“Once there was this man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among thorns & the thorns sprung up and choke him. And as he went on he didn’t have no money & he met the queen of Sheba & she gave him a 1000 talents of gold & a 100 changes of raiment. And he got into a chariot & drove furiously and when he was driving under a big juniper tree his hair caught on the limb of that tree & he hung there many days and many nights. And the ravens brought him food to eat & water to drink & he ate 5,000 loaves of bread & two fishes. One night he was hanging there asleep and his wife Delilah came along and cut off his hair. And he dropped and fell on stony ground, but he got up and went on and it began to rain and it rained 40 days & 40 nights & he had hid himself in the cave and he lived on locust and wild honey….” And on & on…, but you get the picture.
That silly story reiterates what was clear to me sitting in that grand edifice in Italy, that content, though immensely important, without conviction is simply not enough. The Word has many functions, but for it to have power in our lives it must reign in our hearts with conviction, meaning we must be fully persuaded that it is the very Word of God. Think of how by the Word the world came into being. Jesus, the Word made flesh, said in the face of the Tempter, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” He made clear the power of the Word in every situation, and directed us to its Source!
Dear Ones, let’s not be content with a cursory knowledge of Scripture, rather let’s fill our lives with the Word that we may be totally convinced that every single word is true, relevant, & comes from God. It’s that kind of conviction that produces power & victory in our lives. When many of Jesus’ disciples were departing from Him, He asked those who remained, “Will you also turn away?” And Peter said with such conviction, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” Peter knew he found the embodiment of truth & he would not let go. What about you?
If you missed Shirley’s most recent article on the Word of God you can read it here.