LET THE WORD OF GOD CHANGE YOUR MIND
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I heard someone say this phrase this week and I thought back to my last week’s musings of newspaper headlines and Haynes Manuals as extreme versions of communication.BUY THIS IS THAT
It is quite confusing to talk of the Word of God. Is it the whole Bible? Or words whispered through prayer and prophecy? Or the bits of the Bible where God speaks? Or the bits where God speaks that are understandable and not weird? Or just the words in red that Jesus speaks? Or is it only Jesus, the Word, in John’s gospel? Any of these aspects of God’s Word could – and have - changed my mind.
Jesus, the Word, the Logos, the reason, is the fullness of God. And he fulfils every other Word of God that has been given. He is the lens through which we see our world, and also the Bible. That doesn’t mean that he is a filter, though. A filter will get rid of things in order to find what you are looking for, whereas a lens will make things clearer so that you can discern properly.
So we have Jesus who is the full expression of God – For in Him all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, in Colossians 2. We have the word or wisdom and knowledge through, according to and in the Spirit as gifts from God in 1 Corinthians 12. We have the word of God given to us in scripture – the Thessalonians heard it from Paul and believed it as from God in 1 Thessalonians 2.
In the Bible we have God the Father speaking through the prophets, through the chosen fathers and mothers, through the storytellers and poets; all about the Jesus the Son. And this was revealed by the Spirit throughout the times it was happening, as well as through the Spirit empowered ministry of Jesus and the apostles, and even now for us as the Holy Spirit fills us and guides us into truth.
So, it is not Jesus the Word v Bible the Word, or v Prophecy the Word. There is something about the Father’s communication by the Spirit through Jesus (and also even broken people), that changes our minds. That is because when God speaks, his word is dynamic and creative in hearts and minds as well as in the spiritual and earthly world.
I like the verse, ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path' in Psalm 119’. But I don’t’ want to reduce the Bible to that Haynes Manual step by step guide to fixing life back together. The light is not just an objective set of rights and wrongs; it is something that makes my attitude and character different as I tread my path. I also like the verse ‘How sweet are your words to my taste, Yes sweeter than honey to my mouth’ in Psalm 119. That shows me that the Word of God is meant to be consumed and digested. It gives me nourishment and life – rather than the red pen of mistakes, see me after class, do better next time or even a reasonably good mark.
So I want my mind to be changed by however I receive the Word of God, rather than discount anything that is not in red letters, or only seek that which comes via a vodka and baked camembert soaked dream. I need to be like the psalmist, who really enjoyed reading, picking at, wrestling with and receiving the various commands, reflections and comments that I also read throughout the whole bible. I need to do this like Moses did, or David, or Isaiah, or John or Paul. Or even Jesus, who found strength and life for his body, mind and soul in parts of the Bible he knew off by heart, but I rarely turn to.
“Fill your inward parts with this book I am giving you.”
Martin J Young