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  • Paul Reich

The Life-Changing Power of God’s Word (Part 1)

Updated: Feb 19, 2022

God’s Word is the ultimate spiritual “multitool” providing everything we need to survive and thrive in the wilderness of this fallen world.

 

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

 

My first “real” job was as a paperboy delivering the Missoulian, a daily newspaper published in Missoula, Montana, where I grew up. I started the paper route in grade 7 and held that important role of distributing news (and comics, the crossword puzzle, and crypto-quotes – my favorite parts of the paper) for the next three years. Every morning for seven days a week, I was up at 5:30 to deliver papers – except for a few days here and there or perhaps a week each year when I lined up a substitute to take my route so I could be away.


On evenings and Saturdays at the end of each month, I walked my route carrying a zippered money pouch and a flip-binder holding perforated pay stubs to collect the monthly subscription fee from my customers. After collecting, I would pay the Missoulian their portion and the rest was my monthly pay – about $80 a month. I especially enjoyed the Christmas season when customers might throw in a few extra bucks as a bonus in appreciation for a year of faithfully delivering their paper each morning. Like mail carriers, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stayed this courier from the swift completion of his appointed rounds.


In grade seven when I took over the paper route from the brother of a school friend, there were around 90 customers. Shortly after taking over the route, a man from the Missoulian PR department went around the neighborhood with me to help solicit new subscribers to the paper. Depending on the number of new subscribers, I was eligible to earn a range of gifts from their promotional catalog. As a result of our efforts, my route instantly grew to more than 110 subscribers. Because I enjoyed backpacking with friends in the mountains of western Montana, I chose for my prize a camping knife loaded with “Inspector Gadget” like tools including a pair of scissors, a saw, a bottle opener, a screwdriver, a spoon, a fork, two screw drivers, a leather awl, a corkscrew, and a variety of blades.



After becoming an adult, I realized how big and cumbersome this knife really was and that unlike a Swiss Army knife, it was not of outstanding quality. But as a junior high aged boy, I viewed this knife as my survival kit and secret agent toolkit all in one – “Get Smart” being one of my favorite childhood TV shows. Regardless of the quality, I really liked the versatility of this knife and used it throughout my teen years when hiking, backpacking, and camping.


Since the advent of Swiss Army knives in the late 1800’s and the more recent Leatherman craze, multitools of various sorts have been popular gift items because of the range of usefulness they provide for their compact size. Similarly, though not as compact except perhaps in a pocket version of the New Testament or a digital copy on a phone, the Bible is the ultimate multitool and survival kit for our spiritual lives.


God’s Word is described with many metaphors that show its essentiality and broad usefulness for our lives.


GOD'S WORD IS . . .


1. A Light (Psalm 119:105, 130; Proverbs 6:23)

  • To show us the way

  • To illumine our understanding

  • To expose and dispel darkness


2. A Mirror (James 1:22-24)

  • To reflect our spiritual condition


3. Food

  • Bread to nourish our souls (Matthew 4:4)

  • Milk to help us grow (1 Peter 2:2)

  • Meat to make us strong (1 Corinthians 3:1-2)

  • Honey to satisfy our hearts (Psalm 19:7-10, 119:103)

  • When eaten, God’s word brings joy to our hearts (Jeremiah 15:16)

  • God’s word is more necessary than food (Job 23:12; Matthew 4:4)


4. A Cleansing Agent (John 15:3, 17:17; Ephesians 5:24-26)

  • To cleanse us from sins (especially the word of the Gospel – Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

  • To wash/renew our minds

  • To sanctify our lives


5. A Fire (Jeremiah 5:14, 20:8-9, 23:29; Luke 24:32)

  • To proclaim judgment on sin (Jeremiah 5:14)

  • To ignite our hearts for warning others (Jeremiah 20:8-9)

  • To refine and purify our lives (Jeremiah 23:29)

  • To warm our hearts (Luke 24:32)


6. A Hammer (Jeremiah 23:29 - cf. 1:10))

  • To crush the hardness of our hearts

  • To break down the wrong structures in our lives

  • To build up the right structures in our lives


7. A Sword

  • To fight with in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:17; cf. Matthew 4:1-11)

  • To divide right from wrong in our own hearts (Hebrews 4:12)


8. A Seed (Matthew 13:1-23 Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-11; James 1:21)

  • To be planted in our hearts for salvation and spiritual fruitfulness


9. A Moral Guide (Psalm 19:11, 119:9-10)

  • To warn us of sin

  • To help keep our lives pure


10. A Treasure (Psalm 19:10; 119:11, 72, 127)

  • To be valued more than gold

  • To be deposited in our hearts


11. A Healing Agent (Psalm 107:20; Matthew 8:8)


12. A Source of Truth (Psalm 119:151, 160; John 16:13, 17:17)


. . . AND MORE!


The Word of God is the divine multitool that equips us with essentials to live in this spiritually barren world. We have light to guide us in the darkness. We have food to sustain our spiritual lives. We have a fire to warm our hearts. We have a mirror and cleansing agent to maintain spiritual hygiene. We have a healing agent to mend our wounds. We have a hammer to construct our lives. We have a sword to fend off the enemy. We have seed to become spiritually fruitful, a moral guide to keep us on the right path, and rich treasure to meet all our spiritual needs.


As diverse as the tools were on my camping knife and the many purposes for which I used that knife, it does not compare with the extraordinary usefulness of God’s Word to meet our spiritual needs and equip us for successful Christian living in the wilderness of this world. I could not begin to list the many times that God’s Word has been a light to guide my steps, the many thousands of spiritual meals I have eaten from the Word, the countless times that my heart has been warmed by the Word, the daily maintenance of spiritual hygiene that has come from the reflecting and cleansing power of God’s Word, and the many heart wounds for which God’s word has brought me comfort and healing.


Above this, God’s Word has been the main tool for constructing my life. It has been my defense in times of temptation and spiritual attack, and like a sharp two-edged sword it has probed into the deep recesses of my thoughts and motives. It has equipped me for spiritual fruitfulness both in my personal life and in ministry. It has been a moral road map to guide me through many crossroads and past dangerous detours that I’ve encountered on my journey. Finally, God’s Word has brought an inner wealth and satisfaction that nothing on this earth has ever provided. Even to this day, it continues to do its life-changing work in my life – exposing, refining, healing, breaking down, and building up – and it will continue to do so for the rest of my life.


The reason some Christians live spiritually barren and impoverished lives is because they are not regularly in the Word of God. Consequently, they do not benefit from the many resources that the Bible has for their lives. Poorly armed, they experience defeat in spiritual battle. Sick in heart, they don’t appropriate the Word’s healing resources for their deep spiritual and emotional wounds infected by shame and bitterness. They are spiritually famished, passionately cold, morally compromised, and often unaware of their true spiritual condition. They’re dilapidated spiritual lives are in great need of renovation.


All of these conditions can be rectified by the faithful work of the Holy Spirit as He applies the transforming power of God’s Word. Certainly, God has blessed us with many spiritual blessings and resources in Christ for the transformation of our lives (E.g., Ephesians 1:3-14), but even these other resources are discovered through the reading and study of the Scriptures.


CLOSING


What about you? Have you experienced the many benefits that God’s Word has for your life? Will you make hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word a priority in your life?


Get into God’s Word and let God’s Word get into you. Read the Bible and let the Bible read you. Study the Bible and let the Bible study you. Search the Scriptures and let the Scriptures search you. Invite the Holy Spirit to give you a hunger for God’s Word and ask Him to illumine your understanding to the many spiritual riches it contains. Then ask God to help you apply His Word to your life, to forgive you where you fall short, and to give you grace to obey it (Matthew 7:24-27; James 1:22-25).


In our next posts we will probe more deeply into the transforming power of God’s Word as a master teacher, and we will examine four important benefits it provides for our spiritual growth and preparation for a life of purpose and significance. In the meantime, my prayer is that you will make regular use of God’s Word as life's ultimate and indispensable multitool, providing you with everything you need to survive and thrive in the wilderness of this fallen world.


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