McDowell Technical Community College

Mine Creek Baptist Church

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Live the Word and Be Blessed

By Preacher Chris Rathbone

Mitchell County

When it comes to access to the Word of God, you and I are extremely blessed. There are virtually unlimited resources that we can tap into when it comes to the study of the Bible. Paul instructed a young preacher named Timothy to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15). Though the Holy Spirit is our teacher when it comes to the Word of God, we are instructed to be students of the Word. Our study is of the utmost importance to help us be grounded in the Bible. One of the greatest weapons against lies and false teaching is to know the truth. By knowing the truth of what the Bible teaches, one will easily recognize a lie. Though I do realize that many of us may not necessarily agree on certain interpretations we may hold of the scriptures, there are many things that we can agree on: the authority of God’s word, Jesus being the only way of salvation, the virgin birth of Christ, the deity of Christ, the Resurrection of Christ, the Second Coming of Christ, etc. These are just a few of what I call essentials that the Bible teaches that we as Christians can agree on. These “essentials” are things that I personally cannot and will not compromise.

To help us understand these important teachings in the Bible, we have numerous resources to help us. We have wonderful preachers, teachers, books, commentaries, lessons, studies of the original languages, Bible Colleges, seminary schools, etc. God has used great Christians in the past to study the Bible, write, and pass wonderful teachings along to future generations. When it comes to equipping ourselves in the study of God’s Word, we have no excuse, at least in our country, anyway. Many Christian’s ineptness in the Word simply comes from being too lazy to spend time studying.

Not only is the Word of God to be studied, but it is also for us to apply. What I mean by “apply” is that God’s word is to be lived out in our everyday lives.  Studying and applying God’s word go hand in hand if we would reap the blessings of God’s word. A professor of mine when I attended Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute used to say this: “When we chose to not apply the Word of God to our lives, it’s like staring at a bottle of medicine, never taking it, and wondering why we’re not getting better!”

 

One of the most outstanding portions of scripture on applying God’s Word to our lives comes from the book of James Chapter 1:22-25 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.  James uses the illustration of someone looking at themselves in a mirror, seeing all that needs to be changed, walking away, and forgetting about what they saw. Most all of us have mirrors in our house. We stand in front of those mirrors, so we can see what we look like. We’ll comb our hair, wash our face, shave, straighten our shirts and ties, etc. These mirrors are used to show us what we actually look like so we can fix those things that aren’t right. James teaches that those who only hear and refuse to apply the word, are like someone who looks in the mirror, sees their hair all messed up and walks away without combing it! Those who only hear but never do, never get to experience the blessing of walking in God’s Word.

God has allowed me to be involved in Christian ministry for around 25 years, almost eighteen of those as a preacher and pastor. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still learning. There have been times where I studied like I should and times I didn’t. One thing is for sure, my Savior has brought me a long way from where I started. He has taught me that the real blessing of this Christian life is being a “doer of the Word”. There have been times that I’ve experienced the blessing of walking in His Word and times that I’ve experienced the consequences of not walking in His Word. Over these many years I’ve encountered people who can quote more scripture than me, but their life is in constant shambles. They hear, study, and even memorize the Word of God, but for whatever reason, refuse to apply it. They have the medicine but refuse to take it. They have the light but won’t turn it on. They have the bread but neglect to eat. All the while, they keep struggling and struggling in their lives and can’t seem to realize the answer to their problems has already been given to them: be a doer of the Word!

Starting a new year always makes us think of new beginnings. Perhaps for our health, for our relationships, our careers, etc. If there is one resolution that we all need to make it is that we would be doers of the Word and not just hearers only. There is a quite a difference between knowing the Word and living the Word. May God help us to live the Word and be blessed!

Happy New Year,

Preacher Chris