DOCTRINE OR AN INDWELLING REALITY ?
3 John 3 For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth.
One of the challenges I encountered as a young Christian was sorting out the difference between what a person said they believed and how they actually conducted their lives. In those early years of my Christian experience, I was involved in an extensive amount of personal evangelism. Many times individuals would claim to have faith in Christ, and many could argue their position from the scripture. But time after time I would see that many of these individuals did not have a true faith in Christ. They had embraced a spiritual idea about the Bible or about God, but when it came to the nitty gritty of everyday life, well that was quite a different story. The beauty of true Christianity is that it a religion of the heart and of the mind. The Word of God is more than a manual of correct doctrines and principles, it is actually living and active. It is able to penetrate our heart and our mind and effect our entire life, including our actions and behavior. Here is how Charles Spurgeon explained this spiritual dynamic.
“Truth must enter into the soul, penetrate and saturate it, or else it is of no value. Doctrines held as a matter of creed are like bread in the hand, which ministers no nourishment to the frame; but doctrine accepted by the heart, is as food digested, which, by assimilation, sustains and builds up the body. In us truth must be a living force, an active energy, an indwelling reality, a part of the woof and warp of our being. If it be in us, we cannot henceforth part with it. A man may lose his garments or his limbs, but his inward parts are vital, and cannot be torn away without absolute loss of life. A Christian can die, but he cannot deny the truth.”
I love the word “saturate” that Spurgeon used in this passage. He is describing a life being saturated in the word of God. This living word begins to permeate our spirit, our mind, and our emotions. The results is that God’s Word begins to prevail over every part of our lives. Our mind is renewed, our emotions are healed, and our spirit is soaring, fueled with the dynamic power of God’s Word.
Something else happened in my life in those early years of my Christian experience. I was enrolled in Bible College. Everyday, I would spend hours under the influence of solid, Biblical teaching. I am grateful for those years of being taught the Word of God, line upon line, precept upon precept. I may have not been in touch with what was happening to me then, but my life was being changed. I was saturating daily in the living and active word of God. What were the results? It was more than just academic learning, my life was coming under the influence of God so that I could walk in His ways.