I remember the day I decided that in order to truly stand firm in my faith and know God’s truth down deep in the core of my bones, I needed to take matters into my own hands. In the church I was attending at the time, everyone carried their Bible in on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, but I rarely spent much time between the leather cover any other day of the week. Because of that fact, the faith that I held onto was largely one that had been taught to me by others.
Let me pause here to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with learning from others. I am an avid learner. There is something about discovering, processing, exploring, and uncovering ideas and information that brings me life. I’ve nearly always got a book in my hands or a podcast playing in my ear. I’m continually listening to sermons, audio books, and lessons from gifted teachers. However, faith isn’t one of those things that can just be handed from one person to the next in a perfectly executed sermon, well written book, or informative podcast.
A real, solid faith in Jesus Christ can only become rooted deep into the core of who we are when we make the choice ON OUR OWN to crack open the pages of our Bible, sit with God in the quiet spaces, listen to His voice, and seek His face.
Maybe that feels a little scary to you. I know it did to me when I made the decision to take matters into my own hands. After all, who am I to be able to understand and interpret scripture? Who am I to be able to discern God’s voice? Who am I that He would make himself known to me?
Well friend, I am a chosen person, a royal priest, a part of a holy nation, one of God’s special possession. I am called to declare the praises of Him who called me out of darkness and into the light. (adapted from 1 Peter 2:9)
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”1 Peter 2:9 NIV
AND SO ARE YOU.
If we are believers in Christ, that is a part of our identity.
While it’s good to put yourself under the authority of godly teachers and to be a learner who reads, listens, and explores the lessons that other godly men and women are passing on, nothing can compare to the lessons that the Holy Spirit will impress on you as you sit under the teaching of your Heavenly Father and learn from the Holy Spirit.
Before Jesus made a way for us to come before the Father, a holy go between was required. Priests and prophets had to offer sacrifices and seek God on behalf of the people, but Jesus ushered in a new way. His blood shed for us was the only sacrifice needed to make us holy. He made a way for us to commune directly with God.
His new covenant made us priest and prophet.
Friend, you have full authority to access God. His word is available to you as a way to know His heart and learn about Him. At salvation, His Holy Spirit indwelled you and became your teacher and guide. Christ Jesus acts as your intercessor, friend, and advocate.
You have complete freedom to take matters into your own hands. In fact, God wants you to. His desire is for you to seek Him.
Jesus said this in Mark 12:29-30 NIV when asked which of the commandments was the most important, ““The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: …Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.””
God doesn’t want our second hand devotion to a faith that we’ve adopted from someone else. He wants us to love Him fully with all that we are. It’s impossible to love someone in that way without knowing them.
And how do we know Him?
Deuteronomy 4:29 NIV puts it this way. “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and soul.”
He has given us all we need to know Him. He wants our relationship with Him to be that intimate and personal.
If you’re feeling stuck on how to take that first step, might I suggest that you pick up His word and begin there?
2 Timothy 3:16-17NIV reminds us that “all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Start there and then ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Share with Him your desire to know Him. He promises to meet you there.
James 4:8 NIV encourages us to “come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Sweet friend, by all means, learn from those who have been gifted with the ability to be godly teachers, but don’t just stop there. Take matters into your own hands and get to know God on a personal level. It changes everything.
Father God, Help us to seek you with our whole heart, mind, strength, and soul. We want to know you in a real and personal way. We desire deep intimacy with you and we know you want that same thing. Give us wisdom and discernment when we read your word. Speak to us in prayer. Make yourself known to us. Give us the desire to take matters into our own hands.