My neighbor always lets his weeds get 2-3 feet high. Sometimes as I am navigating down the footpath, a weed will rub against my leg and I jump in the air and quickly look down to make sure I’m safe. In my mind, I know that he never addresses the weeds. But even still, I look down because there is a small chance that a mosquito or spider or something else is crawling on my leg. I hate bugs.
When I was a pastor, I always encouraged people to look in the Bible to see the verses I was referencing in a sermon. It was important for me to point people to the actual scripture so that everyone could see what God says. Even though most of the time it is only weeds rubbing against your legs, every so often there is a mosquito or spider crawling on your leg. If you are looking in your Bible to see what God says, you can check for yourself. You aren’t trusting it’s a simple grazing of a weed. You’re able to know it is just a weed. This is important for your walk with Jesus—to know for yourself what God says. Yes, you won’t know it all. Yes, you won’t understand it all. But open up His Word and seek Him.
There are a lot of commentators of the Bible. There are thousands of pastors and theologians. Interpretations vary at times because people allow their own misconceptions and traditions to speak into the Word. People read what they want to read. People cherry pick. People have agendas. People are broken. I’m not suggesting that the last sermon you heard was wrong or that commentaries are bad. My pastor shared a great message from God this past Sunday, and my bookshelf is lined with commentaries. My suggestion, my desire for you is to always seek Him and His Word for yourself. Independent Bible reading and study should be a regular occurrence. What is God saying to you today?
“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” – Psalm 25:5 [ESV]
Since my kids went to the Creation Fest, I had some time freed up to allow me to do things I do not so often get the opportunity. I gladly accepted a dinner invitation from my aunt. When we were relaxing and having conversation, she asked me who is Mark Best.” I responded, “I don’t know, who is he?” I thought she was telling me a joke. Then she pointed to my hand.
On my hand was a typical scrawling of some passage I wanted to look back to when I had the time to sit down with my Bible in hand. I had the normal lunch date with God earlier in the day but there was a passage that I wanted to reflect upon more. The passage was from Mark and at a first glance I could see why she thought it said “Mark Best.”
I’m sharing this with you because I want you to grasp the importance of understanding God’s Word and remembering God’s Word. When there is a verse you want to remember, to really remember, write it down. Keep a journal. Take notes in your Bible. Keep it close till it’s written on your heart. When you have a question, write the passage or verse down. Seek guidance to understand better. Approach your pastor. Pull out a commentary. Read the passage in another translation. Today, make it a Mark Best day.
“How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
I won’t forget a word of it.”
-Psalm 119:9-16 [MSG]
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” – John 14:12 [NIV]
There’s a very cute commercial on television for Purina Pro Plan. The words “I could be great” are sung as these cute dogs are shown on the screen. The commercial is suggesting that you may have a good dog, but with Purina Pro Plan, you could have a great dog—this will increase the potential of your dog. The dogs are shown leaping, soaring, reaching new heights.
As I watched, I remembered the promise to each of us—that we would do “greater things.” We might be on a path where we don’t see the “greater things.” But each of us has potential through the Holy Spirit to do “greater things.” Don’t focus so much on the particulars of the “greater things.” Instead, focus on Christ, through Him everything is held together—through Him, we soar, we reach new heights.