by Lee Stewart
I wrote this letter to my children the other day and read it to them. My kids are 9, 7, and 3.
You already know about the Bible, but I want to make sure you remember why it matters. I also want to make sure I remember it, and everything I write here is for my ears, too.
The Bible is a gift that lasts forever! I know you just got some Christmas gifts, and I think you’re already tired of some of them. But God’s Word is not like that. It’s alive! It’s how He talks to us. But listen, your Bible is not something you read because you think God’s feelings will be hurt if you don’t. God is not like a friend who pouts if you don’t play with them at recess. Don’t read the Bible like you’re doing God a favor. Read it the way a hungry person eats food.
Jesus is called “the Word with skin on,” and Scripture was very important to Jesus during His time on earth. When the devil tempted Him, He quoted Scripture! Why didn’t He use big lightning bolts? That would have been so cool and dramatic. But according to Jesus, Scripture is the best response to the schemes of the devil.
Jesus also used Scripture when He talked to people who already knew the Scriptures! In fact, after Jesus had already died and been brought back to life, He was on the road to a place called Emmaus. He ran into these two guys who knew all about Him, but when they saw Him, they didn’t even recognize Him! They looked at Jesus and told Him how sad they were that Jesus was gone. Jesus could have said: “I’M RIGHT HERE!” But instead He took a long walk with them and quoted Scripture to them. He told them things they had already heard. Then He sat down to eat with them, and finally they recognized Him!
Kids, one day you might look at your Bible and say, “But I’ve already read it. I know what it says.” I want you to remember those guys on the road to Emmaus when you say that to yourself.
Here’s another thing. Sometimes the Bible is like a doctor who cuts you open so he can fix something, or put in something new, and stitch you back together. Ouch! Scripture has a job to do and if you have ears to hear, it will be like signing up for surgery. If you really listen, you’ll find out that everything Jesus says is hard. In fact, it’s all impossible without the Holy Spirit. Never forget that.
The Bible is God’s gift to you. It’s easy to feel satisfied when you know a lot and when others say, “You know a lot!” But God says He resists the proud, so be careful to remember your knowledge is God’s gift to you. To whom much is given, much is required.
Also kids, please don’t run to the Bible because you think it will keep you from sorrow! Reading the Bible won’t mean you are never tempted or that you never suffer. It means you have the sword of the Spirit for those times. It means you have Living Water to drink from, no matter how dry your cup is.
Kids, there’s a difference between reading God’s word and doing it. If you read it, but don’t do it, you’ll be a lot like the scarecrow without a brain. Remember on the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy asked the scarecrow how he knew how to talk if he didn’t have a brain? And he said, “Some people do an awful lot of talking without brains!” Well, sometimes we do a lot of reading our Bibles without understanding. We know what it says, but we miss the point.
Don’t miss out on the point of the Bible. Jesus says He doesn’t know you if you call Him “Lord, Lord,” but don’t do what He says.
Stay teachable, even when you are old and experienced.
Being obedient isn’t just about going to church, reading your Bible, and staying away from big, obvious sins. That’s like saying being married is just about wearing a wedding ring, sharing a house, and having some kids. When you get to know God through His word, it should make a difference in every crevice of your life, even your personality. It should make a difference when someone hurts your feelings, or when you want everyone to like you, or when you decide what to do with money.
Kids, it’s also important to read the Bible when it’s weird and boring to you. Don’t give up on it when it tastes like medicine. Read the whole script. Don’t just unwrap the verses that taste like candy.
One more thing! In the Bible, God talks about marriage, family, prejudice, forgiveness, social justice, and things like that. Sometimes it’s going to sound like His word is outdated or not progressive enough for popular culture. But there is nothing new under the sun. Popular opinion is always changing, but the Bible is never going to die. So let the Bible shape your ideas, rather than trying to shove your ideas into the Bible.
Oh, and guess what! The Bible has a lot of awesome things to say about what God thinks of you and who you are. You are a very big deal! But you are never the Hero or the Author. This is actually great news. There is only one Person in charge, and He loves you very much. The Bible even says, “At His right hand are pleasures forevermore!” This is very strong language and Scripture is dripping with it.
Did you catch that? HIS right hand. Remember that.
Jesus says this in John 5: “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.”
Go to the Bible to find Jesus. Don’t go there just so you can say you went there. I want you to read your Bible, kids, but that’s not enough. We have to do what it says. We have to meet Jesus there. His Word is alive! And I pray we will always be changed by it.
“We are not secured by His Word unless we are ruled by it. Agreement is not obedience. Knowledge is not holiness. Conviction is not repentance. Doctrine is not doing. If we are people that camp out in our knowledge, in our conviction, in our doctrine, in our agreement, we could still be totally lost.”
–Paige Benton Brown from the 2014 TGC Women’s Conference