It had been four weeks since I’d heard from my brother. But finally . . . a letter arrived! During his time at Marine boot camp, the only communication my family had with him was through letters. So we eagerly pored over every letter that arrived. Reading them gave me a glimpse of what he was experiencing. It was like having part of him with me. But the greater joy came from knowing that soon I wouldn’t need letters to communicate. Soon time and space would be erased and I would see my brother again.
Even Better Than a Letter
Did you know we have something even better than a most prized letter from a beloved friend or family member? We have the Word of God, God’s “letter” written to us as a way for us to get to know Him, to have a part of Jesus with us until His return. Just as my love for my brother made his letters invaluable to me, our love for Jesus should drive us to approach God’s Word with eagerness and joy.
John 14-17 contain Jesus’s last words spoken to His disciples just before His crucifixion. It’s like His farewell speech to let His friends know how much He loved them. And get this—it wasn’t just the friends at His side He was addressing. These words of our Savior are also meant for YOU. Read these promises of Jesus, noting the tone of love and tenderness in His words:
- Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. (14:1)
- I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (14:2-3)
- I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (14:6)
- I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (14:18)
- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. (14:27)
- As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (15:9)
- These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (15:11)
- This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (15:12)
- You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (15:16)
- I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (16:33)
- The glory that you [the Father] have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (17:22-23)
- I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them. (17:26)
Seeing God’s Word as a Gift
Being able to read these words in your native tongue is a gift. Did you know that of the approximately 6,909 different languages spoken around the world only 670 of them have a translation of the entire Bible?
We often take it for granted to have multiple copies of the Bible on the shelves and coffee tables in our homes—and digital “copies” on our phones. But just like a bottle of medicine left unopened on a shelf can’t bring healing to a sick person, we can’t taste the goodness of God’s love and appreciate the value of His Word until we open it for ourselves.
My challenge for us is this: to pick up the Bible today and see the treasure trove of wisdom and love it contains for us. For you! Whether you select a reading plan or choose a book or chapter of the Bible to read every day for a month or something else entirely, make a plan and stick to it. The point isn’t so much which method you choose but whether you’re actually getting into the Word so that the Word gets into you.
Ask someone to hold you accountable—or better yet, to join you.
Then as the psalmist did in Psalm 119:18, let’s ask Jesus to open our eyes and soften our heart to the wonderful truths found in His Word. No mindless reading here! We don’t read the Bible for the sake of checking a task off a list. (I’m guilty of that!) We do it to learn and grow in our love for Jesus so that we can serve Him and love others in a hurting, broken world.
My prayer is that as you and I dig deeper into God’s Word, we will find His words to be sweeter than honey, treasuring it as never before as an invaluable gift from our Lover.
- Have you been treasuring God’s Word as the precious gift that it is, or have you been letting it collect some dust on your shelf?
- God invites you to get to know Him in His Word. How can you pursue Him today?