Friday, June 21, 2024
Friday, June 21, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSPINNING MY GEARS: Discerning God's Direction in 2024 (Part 3)

SPINNING MY GEARS: Discerning God’s Direction in 2024 (Part 3)

      Developing an appetite for the Word and maintaining an awareness of God’s presence in our lives are two major variables that indicate whether a believer is growing closer to God. Discerning God’s direction for our lives will be difficult without this desire and understanding. For the past two weeks, my articles have been playing off the analogy of a car’s dashboard to describe what kind of gauges exist to direct a closer walk with God in the new year. This week’s article will discuss the final gauge, an increasing desire for righteousness.

      The late Dr. Howard Hendricks contends, in his classic work Teaching to Change Lives, that the goal of Christian education is not to impart knowledge. His argument is framed by presenting two opposites. In most areas of education, the opposite of ignorance is knowledge. However, obedience is the opposite of ignorance when dealing with spiritual matters. It is worth adding that striving for obedience without an awareness of God as personal and present in our lives and a strong appetite for the Word of God is dangerous. Most of the time, the errors that present themselves without an awareness of God or appetite for His Word can be classified as legalism. When we closely monitor all three gauges simultaneously, we can appreciate the most exciting dial on our instrument cluster, the MPH. Again, we’ll reorient this meaning for our spiritual dashboard to form a new acronym.

      • Measuring righteousness by the Word is the meaning of the first letter. Saying we should increase our desire for righteousness to discern God’s will for our lives can be a misleading exhortation if the meaning of righteousness isn’t defined. Our society has, by and large, embraced the idea that what is right and wrong changes from person to person. Indeed, areas where individual Christian liberty comes into account exist. But the standard of righteousness is not vague or changing. The standard of righteousness found in the Bible is descriptive and unchanging. To pursue righteousness in our lives, Christians must allow the Bible to be their only measurement for comparison.

      In the last three months of 2023, a new at-home Bible study began to take shape with several young adults. January is the first month we’ve started to dive into the material I use to familiarize new believers with the faith. Why has it taken us three months to get to our starting point? Because we needed to lay a foundation of the basic principles for studying the Bible by ourselves and establish that the only authority is the Bible itself. I’ve made the mistake of rushing through this foundation before. The result has been miniature debate sections about biblical perspectives. By rooting our new Bible study group in the authority of Scripture, we hope to avoid these issues in the future.

      • The P in MPH stands for practicing the Word. The easiest step to neglect in Bible study is the application of the Word to one’s life. Reading the Bible and hearing great sermons are a means to an end in themselves. They aren’t the goal. Just reading the Word will not make a person a more mature Christian; neither will sitting under the finest preaching since Pentecost. Christians who draw nearer to God regularly make personal applications from the text they sit under.

      We should be careful not to rush to application before understanding a passage’s original meaning and intent. Running the application too early will lead to a superficial response to the Word. Once we have understood the text we’re looking at, we must apply it. The easiest way to ensure we apply Scripture to our lives is to answer two questions — “What will you do?” and “When will you do it?” Instead of being general, adding flesh to the bones moves us closer to fulfilling our intention and obeying the Word.

         • Honoring the Word is the final letter of our acronym. The best way to do this is to remind ourselves of what the Bible is. It is more than an anthology of over 40 authors spanning over 1,000 years. The Holy Spirit carried along each author to inscribe each word. Despite the vast period to complete all 66 books, each works harmoniously to deliver the best news ever. Unlike most “open letters” used to provide such news, the Bible is not mindlessly intended to work as a catch-all. Instead, the divine Author masterfully intended the Bible to be delivered personally to all those who belong to Him. My favorite definition of the Bible is a love letter delivered to you. When we cherish the Word of God the way we do a personal letter, we honor it rightly. Doing so gets our gears spinning to pursue righteousness with the right intention. It is impossible to grow in holiness without the grace of God.

Derrick Bremer
Derrick Bremer
Derrick A. Bremer grew up in Northwest Arkansas where he met his wife, Michelle, in their 9th grade English class. Derrick surrendered to the gospel ministry in 2018 at Temple Baptist Church of Rogers, Arkansas under the leadership of pastor Wade Allen. Derrick was ordained in 2020 when he was called to serve as the pastor of Denver Street Baptist Church in Greenwood, AR.