We approach November with chillier weather, falling leaves, and preparations for the Thanksgiving and, yes, the Christmas season coming up. For seven of us, we will spend the first eight days in Trinidad and Tobago on mission. This time of year opens hearts and minds to the goodness and work of Christ more than any other time of year. Will we take advantage of this?
Thomas Brooks in his book Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices said something very helpful for us:
Christ, the Scripture, your own hearts, and Satan’s devices are the four prime things that should be first and most studied and searched. If any cast off the study of these, they cannot be safe here, or happy hereafter. It is my work as a Christian, but much more as I am a watchman, to do my best to discover the fullness of Christ, the emptiness of the creature, and the snares of the great deceiver.
Christ, Scripture, our own hearts, and Satan’s devices—do we spend time studying these? Do we see the need? The idea of studying as a follower of Jesus is often left to the seminary students as they work toward leadership in the church. But consider the study of each:
Studying Christ. Passages like Colossians 1:15-23; Philippians 2:5-11; and Hebrews 1:1-4 are the great Christological passages of Scripture that show His glory and His might! We also have biographies of Christ in the New Testament known as the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). All through the Old Testament, we see the prophesies of Christ’s coming—all of which came to fruition in the New Testament. Do we spend time studying and getting to know the Savior who rescued us from our sins and to Himself?
Studying Scripture. In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul writes to young pastor Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” Paul tells us there is a right way and a wrong way to examine and study Scripture. But Scripture also needs to study us, as we see in 2 Timothy 3:16, where Scripture is profitable for “teaching, for reproof, for correction, and training in righteousness.” Why? Verse 17 shows that this how the believer is equipped for every good work.
Studying Our Own Hearts. In 2 Corinthians 13:5 we are commanded to “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” James 4 spends an entire chapter on discerning the motives of our hearts. Do we study ourselves to make sure we are seeking the things that are above (Colossians 3:1-4)?
Satan’s devices/schemes. Ephesians 6:10-12 spells this out for us: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” We are perpetually engaged in a spiritual warfare that seeks to discourage us from pursuing the things of God—that in an of itself is a scheme of the devil.
You see, when we come to church and study Scripture, we must not stay in the realm of curiosity but of intentionality. The Scriptures are not for our information but for transformation, for they show us the person and work of Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Will you pray, as you were charged on Sunday, October 20, to seek the things that are above and set your mind on things above not on the things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-4)? Connecting to God in prayer, seeking His will and wisdom! It’s His church! Let’s seek His face as His people!