I received and email today from Derek Prince Ministries in which the president of its USA division, Dick Leggatt, talked of the foundational importance of God's Word to us and said of Derek, "One of my fondest recollections of my early contact with Derek Prince had to do with his love for the Word of God, and his priority of studying and honoring it."
He then went on to tell of a time in 1972 when he visited Derek's home and, while Derek was out of the room, sneaked a peak at Derek's open Bible to find out what he was studying and found he couldn't read it because it was all in Greek. He says, "Derek was studying his New Testament in the original Greek. My very next thought was, 'What kind of a man is this?' " Dick then wrote, "I'll tell you the answer to that question. Derek was a man who knew and loved the Word of God. It was the foundation of his life. It was his rock."
As I read the email I was struck with a distinction Dick made early in it when he talked of Derek's priority of studying and honoring the Word. I thought, that is a very wise distinction. We are told to study God's Word, to meditate on it, to immerse our self in it, to rightly divide it. But that alone won't be a foundation for us. I knew a man who could quote the Bible inside and out—far better than I ever will. He had even, if my memory serves me correctly, chosen his college because it was the only one at the time offering a New Testament study course. The man was brilliant—with a memory seemingly without holes and with an IQ that led him to shatter test records. He also thought the Bible yielded some good history but was basically a good story book. In fact, his lifestyle was in open rejection of what God says is pleasing to Him, and he held no belief in God, especially as a personal Lord and Savior. The last time I met him, years later, that hadn't changed.
You see, it is not enough to simply study the Word of God. We are almost, in seems in so many cases in America, taught way past our point of obedience. We know far more than we are ever obeying. We must not only study the Word of God, but we must honor it. When we honor someone we put them up higher, we call them to the front, we give them a place of esteem and recognition. We must honor the Word of God. It must be something we esteem, we put to the front of our life, we anchor our hopes and expectations and choices in, we live worthy of. Our lives must bear out our esteem for the Word by honoring it with our choices to live by it—not just saying it is important to us, but our lives being a testimony by which someone could tell the Word is important to us even if we never said it.
I like that distinction—studying and honoring. Those two, together, make for a powerful foundation for a Christian's life! When we know God's Word, and then we make a decision to esteem it and hold it high in our life, we will find ourselves living a life of holiness, and also a life of faith. Holiness because God's Word calls us to it and we honor that. Faith because we make His Word important enough to us that we believe it even when what we see around us contradicts it.
Holiness and Faith. Wow! When those mark our life there is no telling how He might "turn the world upside down" (Acts 17:6) through us. Couple that with a decision to sacrificially love God and others above all else and I can't imagine what a life might look like . . . but I am hopefully moving toward finding out because I want those to be the marks of my life, and the witness and strength and inheritance I give/show to Mary Ann and Bethany and Abigail and others.
Note: Please prayerfully consider commenting on my "I Gots to Know!" post (1/12/2010) on what it means to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. I really believe both you, and we the audience, will be blessed by your prayerful searching out that subject and then sharing what you find.