Finally, as new believers learn to obey Scripture, they learn to trust it. Trust isn’t a decision. It is something earned over time. You can’t just trust the Bible.
But here is the wonderful cycle that happens. You commit yourself to Jesus. You read his words, meditate on them, even memorize some of them, and ask God to help you obey it. Some times this is hard because God’s ways are not our ways, and much of what he says will conflict with the teaching of this world. But we have committed ourselves to him, to walk the path, and so we ask for God to help us understand and obey. And as we obey, the truth of the Bible is validated in our experience; and as it is validated, we start to trust. And as we start to trust, we want to read more, to meditate more, to memorize more, and are more and more willing to obey. And as we obey more, we trust more. As the old song says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Sometimes I stand back in amazement at how much I trust the Bible. It isn’t to my credit. It’s nothing I have done. But over the course of my forty-eight years of walking on the path of discipleship, God has so validated the truth of his word that today I trust it more than I trust myself. And the gift of trust that God has given me is so deep that at times it astounds me. As you walk down the path and continue to trust and obey, this too can become your experience.
Final Note. This series of blogs on the new believer and Scripture has been longer than usual, but there has been lots to cover. Allow me to end on this final note.
We do not love the Bible! We love the author of the Bible, and the distinction is critical. We are to love God more than anything else; that’s his greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37). And the enemy, Satan, is delighted if he can stop us anywhere short of loving the person of God. He is even content if we love the Bible, if that becomes a replacement for loving God. It certainly was for the Pharisees.
When I hear someone say, “I love the Bible,” red flags fly. Do they love the Bible but not God? What do we call it when we replace God with something? Idolatry. We even have a specific term describing the idolistic love of the book: bibliolatry.
If your loved one sent you a love letter, would you love the letter? Would you gild its edges and cover it in leather? You might take care of it, but you would never replace the lover with the letter. Never! The letter contains the very words of the lover, and we would meet our lover in the midst of his or her words.
The Bible is a love letter from the lover of our souls, Jesus. Never fall in love with the letter to the exclusion of the lover. I have spent most of my life trying to understand the Bible. All of my college and graduated education has been with the intent of knowing it better. But I don’t love the Bible. I love Jesus.
As you travel down the path of discipleship, may the voices of creation and God’s Word call you to love Jesus. Nothing else will do.