Not idle: living and active

This title may lead you to think about how you live your life. The charge to not live an empty and unsignificant one, but one filled with activity and experiences. The challenge to be intentional and not laze through your days, but to dive in and relish each moment. When I read it, it leads me to think about how God wants us to view the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.

We all have different views of the Bible, as Christians. I want to address the outlook that if you’ve read the Bible once, you’ve got the picture God paints and from there on out, you’ll do fine just flipping through it occasionally while looking for a specific verse or sitting in the pews on Sunday. At times, this can come from an intellectual arrogance, or the hesitancy to be confronted by your sin, or the detrimental dependence on means that are intended to be supplements (i.e. Christian authored books, sermons, fellowship through church, etc.), or maybe even just plain intimidation by the wealth of content it holds.

In Deuteronomy 32:47, Moses says to Israel, “They are not just idle words for you-they are your life.” Moses writes this with the implication that all the words are significant, to the extreme of calling them your life. Both Testaments are applicable because God speaks in and through them, with a purpose in mind. To disregard these words, for whatever reason, is to not live fully into what God has given us. Jesus, in Matthew 4:4, repeats Scripture taken from Deuteronomy 8:3, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Are we listening?

Although the entirety of the written word is millenniums old, it has always been, and always will be, the breath of life for Christians. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active.” Indeed, it is.  It isn’t dead to us, any more than our faith is dead. The revelations that God gives us through it are innumerable, unable to be fully comprehended regardless of how many hours are poured into the study, or reading, of it. It is alive, the heartbeat of God that sustains us. It is active, moving us and always at work in convicting and enlightening us, through the work of the Holy Spirit. Are we participating?

When God chooses to use these phrases to describe Scripture, we should take them seriously. His words are “your life,” “living and active.” When we consider life, we know that it needs to be sustained, through breathing, eating, drinking, moving, growing; so, with the maintenance, sustenance, and attention to care for the life we strive to keep, can we accept that our devotion to Scripture will keep us alive by doing all of these things with Him in mind?

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,” (Hebrews 1:1-2) and with Revelation closing the canon of Scripture, we must open our Bibles to hear a word from God. In a way, to leave it up on a shelf is to ignore Him. Anything else in our lives that is living and active rarely gets ignored, as it (our children, spouses, friends) requires our attention. If we’re neglectful in setting time apart to hear Him and participate in His message, He will get our attention in one way or another. Our Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14); love Him by not allowing time in His Word to compete with all the idle and/or living and active idols that consume your days.

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