MORE THAN RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Bible study won’t give you eternal life. You could memorize the entire Bible and be able to discuss minute issues of biblical scholarship and yet fail to experience the truths found in its pages. It’s a subtle temptation to prefer the book to the Author, but a book won’t confront you about your sin; the Author will. Books can be ignored; it’s much harder to avoid the Author when He’s seeking a relationship with you.
The Pharisees in Jesus’ day thought God would be pleased with their knowledge of His Word. They could quote long, complicated passages of Scripture. They loved to recite and study God’s law for hours on end. Yet Jesus condemned them because although they knew the Scriptures, they didn’t know God. They were proud of their Bible knowledge, but they rejected the invitation to know God’s Son.
Can you imagine knowing all God has promised to do in your life but then turning to something else instead? You may be tempted to turn to substitutes for a relationship with God. These substitutes aren’t necessarily bad things in themselves. They might include serving in the church, doing good deeds, or reading Christian books.
Yet no amount of Christian activity will ever replace your relationship with Jesus. The apostle Paul considered everything he had ever done to be “garbage” when compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ (Phil. 3:8). Never become satisfied with religious activity rather than a personal, vibrant, growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
Have you been reading the words of Jesus in your Bible without experiencing His word that transforms everything around you? Jesus condemned the Pharisees because they assumed that knowledge of the written Scriptures would give them life. They were satisfied with having the words instead of experiencing the person who spoke the words.
As you study your Bible, you may sense that God has something to say directly to you through the verses you’re reading. Take a moment to consider the awesome reality that the God who spoke and created the universe is now speaking to you. If Jesus could speak and raise the dead, calm a storm, cast out demons, and heal the incurable, then what effect might a word from Him have on your life? The next time you open God’s Word, do so with a sense of holy expectation.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = dead or nonexistent; 10 = vibrant and growing), how would you describe your relationship with God?
What religious activity tends to become a focus of your spiritual life rather than strengthen your relationship with God? Why do you find yourself distracted by that particular discipline or activity?
What reminders can you use to approach religious (and seemingly ordinary) activities with a sense of holy expectation in order to experience God and strengthen your relationship with Him?
What was the most meaningful statement or Scripture you read today?
Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response to God.
What does God want you to do in response to today’s study? [Henry T. Blackaby, Richard Blackaby (2014). Seven Realities for Experiencing God – Member Book. LifeWay Press. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]