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By Andrew Murray.
“The word of God, which is at work in you who believe”
1 Thess. 2 v13.
The power of God’s word is inﬁnite. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made . . . He spoke and it came to be; He commanded and it stood firm” (Ps. 33 v6&9). In the word of God His omnipotence works, it has creative power and calls into existence the very thing of which it speaks.
The word of the living God is a living word and gives life. It can not only call into existence, but even make alive again that which is dead. Its quickening power can raise dead bodies, can give eternal life to dead souls. All spiritual life comes through it, for we are born of eternal seed by the word of God that lives and abides for ever.
Faith in its creative and quickening energy is one of the deepest secrets of the blessing of God’s word, which is unfortunately not seen by many. The word will work in us the very grace which it promises. “It works effectually in those who believe.” Nothing can resist its power when received into the heart through the Holy Spirit, “It works effectually in those who believe.” “The voice of the Lord is in power.” Everything depends upon learning how to receive that word into the heart. And the first step is to trust in its living, omnipotent and creative power. By His word “God called the things that are not, as though they were”.
As true as this is of all God’s mighty deeds from creation to the resurrection of the dead, it is true too of every word spoken to us in His holy book. Two things keep us from believing this as we should. The one is the terrible experience in all around, and perhaps in ourselves too, of the word being made ineffective by human wisdom or unbelief or worldliness. The other is the neglect of the teaching of Scripture that the word is a seed.
Seeds are small, seeds may be long dormant, seeds have to be hidden, and when they sprout are of slow growth. Because the action of God’s word is hidden and unobserved, slow and apparently feeble, we do not believe in its omnipotence. Let us make it one of our first lessons. The word I study is the Power of God unto salvation, and it will work in me all I need, all the Father asks.
What a prospect this faith can open up for our spiritual life. We should see all the treasures and blessings of God’s grace to be within our reach. The word has power to enlighten our darkness. In our hearts it will bring the light of God, the sense of His love, and the knowledge of His will. The word can fill us with strength and courage to conquer every enemy and to do whatever God asks us to do. The word will cleanse and sanctify, will work in us faith and obedience. It will become in us the seed of the likeness of our Lord. Through the word the Spirit would lead us into all truth, that is, make all that is in the word true in us, and so prepare our heart to be the home of the Father and the Son.
What a change would come over our relationship with God’s word if we really believed this simple truth. Let us begin our training for that ministry of the word which every believer must exercise, by proving its power in our own experience. Let us begin to seek this, quietly setting ourselves to learn the great faith lesson, the mighty power of God’s word. The word of God is true because God himself will make it true in us. We shall have much to learn in regard to what hinders that power, much to overcome to be freed from these hindrances, much to surrender to receive that working. But all will come right if we will only set out upon our Bible study with the determined resolve to believe that God’s Word has omnipotent power in the heart to work every blessing of which it speaks.
In all nature there is no other illustration of what the Word of God is, so true, so full of meaning, as that of the seed. To have a full spiritual insight into it is a wonderful means of grace.
The points of resemblance are easily stated. There is the apparent insignificance of the seed, a little thing as compared with the tree that springs from it. There is the life, enclosed and dormant within a husk. There is the need of a suitable soil, without which growth is impossible. There is the slow growth with its length of time calling for the long patience of the gardener. And there is the fruit, in which the seed reproduces and multiplies itself. In all these respects, the seed teaches us most precious lessons as to our use of God's Word.
FAITH - our first lesson. Faith does not look at appearances. As far as we can judge, it looks most improbable that the Word of God should give life in the soul, should work in us the very grace of which it speaks, should transform our whole character, should fill us with strength. When once we have learned to believe that the Word can bring to pass the very truth which it describes, we have found one of the chief secrets of our Bible Study. We shall then receive each word as the pledge and the power of a divine working.
LABOUR - our second lesson. The seed needs to be gathered, and kept, and put into the prepared soil. And so the mind has to gather from scripture and understand and pass on to the heart, as the only soil in which this heavenly seed can grow, the words which meet our need. We cannot give the life or the growth. Nor do we need to, it is there. But what we can do is to hide the Word in our heart, and keep it there, waiting for the sunshine that comes from above.
PATIENCE - our third lesson. The effect of the Word on the heart is in most cases not immediate. It needs time to strike root, and grow up, so Christ’s words must abide in us. We must not only day by day increase our store of Bible knowledge, for this is like gathering the grain in a barn, but also we need to watch over those words of command or promise that we have specially taken and allow them room in our heart to spread both root and branches. We need to know what seed we have put in, and to cultivate a watchful but patient expectancy. In due time we shall reap if we faint not.
FRUITFULNESS - our fourth lesson. However insignificant that little seed of the Word of God appears, however feeble its life may seem, however deep hidden the thought it speaks of may be, and however trying the slowness of its growth may be to our patience, be sure the fruit will come. The very truth and life and power of God, of which the Word contained the thought, will grow and ripen within us. And just as a seed bears a fruit, containing the same seed for new reproduction, so the Word will not only bring us the fruit it promised, but that fruit will each time become a seed which we carry to others to give life and blessing.
Not only the Word, but “the kingdom of heaven is like a seed”. And all the grace of it comes in no other way than as a hidden seed in the heart of the believer. Christ is a seed. The Holy Spirit is a seed. The love of God shed abroad in the heart is a seed. The exceeding greatness of the power that works in us is a seed. The hidden life is there in the heart, but its power may not always be felt. The Divine glory is there, but often without form or beauty, to be known only by faith, to be counted and acted on even when not felt, to be waited for in its springing forth and its growth.
As this central truth is firmly grasped and held as the law of all the heavenly life on earth, the study of God’s word becomes an act of faith and surrender and dependence upon the living God. Wait on God in absolute dependence and confidence to give the increase in a power above all that we can ask or think.
From: “The Inner Chamber”.