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I can only imagine the Lord smiling down upon me from heaven as He knew full well how indescribably blessed I would be the day He placed this little book from so very long ago into my hands and ultimately my heart and life. I had been mildly attracted to the front cover, slightly interested when I read the back of the book, but held no significant expectations. How surprised I was to see how the Lord would use the little book to touch and bless my life beyond measure. Surely He knew in advance, as He knows everything from start to finish, how that one sentence that would strike such a chord in my heart would also provide an opportunity for me to share through my writing the thought the 1800’s housewife’s words would bring so mightily to my mind.
“Is there not in my heart some secret reluctance to know the truth lest that knowledge should to a higher and holier life than I have yet tried?” (Stepping Heavenward by Mrs. E. Prentiss, Barbour Publishing, p. 311)
Do her words bring to light in your heart what they bring to light in mine? God’s Word, the Bible, is the Truth. His Truth is holy, perfect, and eternal. His Truth washes us, cleanses us, teaches us, changes us, inspires us, convicts us, rebukes us, frees us, chastens us, grows us, improves us, refines us, instructs us, guides us, leads us, and, shall I go on? Does it always do this? God’s Word does this when we hear AND do His Word.
Yet in my work as an evangelist, constantly crossing paths with people in person, by phone, and online, I am astounded at the number of people I meet that say they love God but will not have anything, or relatively little anyway, to do with studying God’s Word. Why is that?
Mrs. Prentiss said this: “Is there not in my heart some secret reluctance to know the truth lest that knowledge should to a higher and holier life than I have yet tried?” How would this apply to God’s Word? When we resist God’s Word, we are resisting God. Why would we resist His Word? Why would we resist Him? Because God’s Word calls us to a holier and a higher life than how we live when we live according to our self-seeking, self-serving, self-centered, selfish ways.
I have heard just about every excuse from A to Z and back again when it comes to why people won’t study the Bible. But the most honest one I ever heard was from a man who told me he doesn’t study the Bible for seasons in his life because God’s Word “cuts him up.” In other words, God’s Word convicts him with the result being that he is absolutely certain that he must leave behind his old ways and follow the ways of the Lord.
There are people worldwide who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached. There are those who have never seen a Bible. But then there are those who know about Jesus Christ and have access to a Bible and choose to reject Jesus Christ and the Word. Then there are those who proclaim they believe in Jesus Christ as Lord but choose anyway to reject the Bible by not studying it and applying it to their lives. Then there are those who believe in Jesus Christ and study God’s Word, but reject it by refusing to do what it says.
And, there are those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, and do their best to be hearers and doers of the Bible. They aspire to the holier and the higher life. They do not resist God. They do not resist His Word. They are willing to deny themselves, to take up their crosses, and to follow Jesus (Mark 8:34) even as they must endure the suffering of having to deny themselves the pleasures of this life in order to cleave to the Lord and do as He says as He ever perfects His love in them and prepares them for everlasting life with Himself.
Into which category do you fall?
Why would we choose to stay away from the knowledge of God’s Word? Because studying God’s Word brings to light everything in our lives that is unholy that we must rid ourselves of and calls us to a higher life – to live the life that Jesus Christ died on the cross that we might have. Life according to the ways and will of the Lord God almighty. Not lives meant to live for ourselves. But lives designed that we might live for Him. Not for our own glory. But for His. Not for this moment alone. But with the precious promise that through repentance and faith placed in Christ we might live with God for eternity.
God calls us to be holy as He is holy. This, dear friend, is the higher life to which He calls us. We must humble ourselves, repent of our sins, place our faith in Jesus the Christ, and follow Him where He leads us.
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (AKJV version)
John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. (AKJV version)
1 Peter 1:16 “because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (AKJV version)