At the beginning of this third issue of The Traveler, I want to elaborate on something I briefly mentioned in my first month’s e-mail introduction. I wrote: “I don’t have any delusions of grandeur that what I teach and write is absolutely essential to your spiritual well-being.”
To build on that thought, I write this month: “It is not my intention to make you think as I think, but to usher you to the Living Truth, to Jesus Himself, from Whom alone you can genuinely learn anything! My thinking is just as flawed and faulty as yours. I don’t have many of the answers, but I do know The Person Who is The Answer, The Truth—Jesus!”
At any given time on our journey, each of us can only think and act based upon our (1) present state of awareness and (2) present level of understanding. Even what little truth we presently understand is always based upon those two factors. That’s why we must have absolute, final, and objective truth—something outside our limited selves: God, Jesus, the Bible. Without those, we flounder around, playing mind and word games and thinking “our” truth is better than someone else’s truth.
Having said that, I invite you to visit our web site again and read another of my essays posted there: Truth. It might help to clarify this matter of truth.
I want to share a little bit about how the Bible is the “LIFEGuide Book” for our journey. But here near the beginning of this issue, I want to make a point as clearly as I possibly can: God did not give us the Bible, his written Word, merely to INFORM us—but to TRANSFORM us! Our lives as Jesus-believers are not to be spent merely learning and amassing information about God, but they are to be spent in letting God transform our lives by means of his written Word, the Bible.
If such transformation is not occurring in your life day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month, year-by-year, then something is not “working right” for you! Hebrews 4: 12 states unequivocally that the Bible is “LIFE-giving and full of power” to transform our lives. How does that happen? We read, study, and obey! our Bibles. The Spirit of God who lives within us (the Author of the Bible) then takes what we read, study, and obey!, and from within us He uses it to transform our lives by his inner power interacting inside us with the “outer,” life-changing, transforming power of the Bible.
His inner power. The Bible’s written power. They work in tandem to transform our lives as we read, study, and obey! our Bibles. It’s really that simple. No long explanations. No deep theological mumbo-jumbo. God uses the Bible to transform our lives while we journey through this life. Again, if that type of transformation is not occurring in your life, then something is wrong and you need to correct it! So…where are you in relation to the transforming power of the Bible? Where is your Bible? Is it on the coffee table where you dust it once a week? Or are you reading, studying it, and obeying! it daily—as if your journey depended on it? Because it does!
Transformed Into What?
Good question. I’m glad you asked. Human beings were originally created in the image of God. What does “image of God” mean? We are visible representations of the invisible God. But…because of a matter called sin, the image of God in each of us has been blurred, marred, disfigured, and is out of focus, so to speak. We’re not very clear visible representations of the invisible God anymore. To make a long story very short, God is in the lifelong process of transforming us and restoring us back into clear images of Himself. He does that by means of the transforming power of the Bible interacting with the Holy Spirit who lives permanently within each of us. The Bible is unlike any other book ever written on planet earth. It’s not mere words on paper as are all other books. It’s God’s pure written revelation of Himself to all humankind. And—obeyed!—it transforms and restores our lives into the clear image of God during our life-journey.
The clearest—the perfect—image of God is Jesus. You can look that up in 2 Corinthians 3: 18; 4: 4; Colossians 1: 15; and Hebrews 1: 3. By contrast to Jesus, you and I are unclear, blemished, fuzzy, unfocused, cloudy, imperfect images of God. God is restoring you and me into his clear image as we read, study, and obey! our Bibles and then change our inner selves by the power of God’s Holy Spirit who lives within each Jesus-believer. Changing our inner selves is what the Bible calls “repentance.” That means: I willfully choose to turn away from living a sin-filled life to leading a Jesus-filled life. When I make those types of daily choices, then the Holy Spirit “kicks in” and empowers me to make the necessary transformations that will slowly change me back into God’s image. You can read about that process of inner change in such Bible references as Romans 12: 2 and Ephesians 4: 23 and 24.
Our entire life’s journey is so that we can be restored back into God’s image! God’s ultimate, final vision for your life is to fully transform you and restore you into his clear image! If that’s not happening, you’re missing out on the most exciting part of your life’s journey.
God’s Character In Us
Another way of stating what I’ve been attempting to say about God restoring and transforming us into his image is to say that God is implanting and infusing his core character in us by our reading, studying, and obeying! the Bible. What is God’s core character? It is twofold: God is love. God is good. You can find references for those in 1 John 4: 8 and Psalm 119: 68. But what does it actually mean to say that God is love and God is good—and what does it mean that He is infusing those characteristics of his in us? God is love. Throughout our journeys, everything God does in each of our lives is always filtered through his love for us. His love is eternal, and He eternally works in our lives to transform us so that we exhibit more and more of his type of unconditional love toward ourselves and others.
God is good. Everything God does is good. He is working out everything in our lives for our ultimate good. His innate goodness is as eternal as his love. Together, his love and his goodness are always—irresistibly—drawing us toward our ultimate good as He works out his “behind the scenes,” greater plans and purposes for each of our lives as we journey along our mortal pilgrimage here on earth. Yes, God implants his goodness in us, but it’s not a “goody-goody” type of goodness; rather, it means we are being transformed into good people—people who are loving, joyful, full of peace, faithful, humble, self-controlled, etc. Those are the types of good aspects of God’s character He is implanting within us as we journey. So…as we journey along the King’s Highway, God is infusing within us his restored image and his transforming love and goodness so we actually become more and more like Him.
The Bible Is The Source
Again, where do we learn that God is good? That God is love? That He is transforming us and restoring us back into his clear image? The Bible! Fellow travelers, that’s what the Bible is all about. Not just to inform us and regale us with nice little Bible stories. Or insipid little life lessons. Or pleasant positive sayings. God has given us the Bible to transform us, not merely to inform us! The Bible is the Source of God’s transforming, restoring power in each of our lives. If you regard the Bible in any other way, then you’re not letting it and the Holy Spirit who lives in you do what God intends for them to do…. If you’re not letting the Bible and the Holy Spirit do what they’re meant to do for you, then you’re missing out on more that you can possibly imagine for your life journey!
2 Timothy 3: 16 and 17 (in the Bible) tells us a little bit about how the Bible works in our lives. It begins by telling us God “breathed” his own Life into the Bible, just as He breathed life into Adam, just as he breathes life into a newly conceived baby in the mother’s uterus at the instant of conception, and just as He breathes his eternal LIFE into us at the time of our “spiritual conception” when we are “born2,” (meaning born twice, born again, born from above). It’s the same life-breathing process in all four instances. Then that reference goes on to say that God uses the Bible in 6 ways to transform us, restore us, and transplant his character and nature in us as we journey along life’s road. First, God uses the Bible to implant in us “correct teaching”—so that we believe the proper things about God. So that we have a God-worldview, a biblical worldview, not the flawed and limited worldviews of earth.
Second, God uses his God-breathed Bible to reprove us or reprimand us when our “stinking thinking” needs to be changed. Reproof is not punishment; it is loving discipline God submits us to, always for our higher, ultimate good. Third, God uses the Bible to correct us when we go astray, when we wander off the path. It’s like the Bible is a GPS unit God uses to help us correct our course if we drift off the King’s High Way during our journey.
Fourth, the Bible instructs us in right living—living in a manner that pleases God and causes us to say and do the right things along the way as we journey.
Fifth, God uses the Bible to grow us up, to mature us, to develop us into his image, to fully transform us, to fully restore us into the finished product He designed us to be.
Finally, the Bible thoroughly equips us to be good and to do good. Not to be “holier-than-thou” good, but to be patient, merciful, kind, happy, gentle, self-controlled—someone whom it’s good to be around. Let the Bible slowly and steadily transform you into that kind of person. If you want to know a little more about the Bible in general: its history, how we got it, etc., I invite you to read another essay on our web site entitled The Bible. Your journey will not be what God intends it to be without you daily reading, studying, and obeying! the Bible.
You simply won’t have a worthwhile and meaningful journey without applying the Bible, God’s Living, written Word, to your life each day of your journey. Your life will not be as fulfilling—you will not be as content—without daily applying the Bible to your life as you journey along. God wants you to have a good journey. A journey full of abundance and well-being. A satisfying journey. A journey full of peace and contentment. It won’t be that way without the Bible.
“Often during your life’s journey, you will find yourself having to travel at night and during other dark times; when that happens, My Word will be a Lamp to your feet and a Light to your pathway—one step at a time.” –God, Psalm 119: 105
To Think About This Month:
“I have had a tremor of bliss, a wink of heaven, a whisper, and I would no longer be denied; all things proceed to a Joyful Consummation.”–T. S. Elliott
Life Enrichment Services, Inc
Revised and updated December 2018