When you read the Word of God, do you see it as a practical guide to living out His perfect will for your life? Do you look at it as God’s expectations of you? Prerequisites to inherit His promises? Do you take God’s Word literally? Or is it merely an ideal?
Although it’s true that we are all progressing from glory to glory, it’s important that we don’t use Scripture as an excuse to make God’s expectations merely a set of ideals. God’s Word outlines His standard of living, so to speak. God’s Word gives us plenty of examples of what happens when people meet those expectations and what happens when they do not.
Men of God like Kenneth E. Hagin took every Word of the Bible literally. In his teachings, Hagin explained how he made a promise to the Lord while on the bed of affliction as a teenaged boy. He told God as soon as he read and understood any passage of Scripture, He would be a doer of that Word. He would apply it to his circumstances; he would live by it.
Take the Word at Face Value
When God’s Word commanded not to worry in Matthew 6, for example, Hagin knew he had to stop worrying. When he read Mark 11:23 – “whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” – a young Hagin believed it. When he discovered he was redeemed from the curse of the law, again, he believed it. You know the story. Hagin’s faith lifted him from the bed of affliction. He was healed from a deformed heart and went on to preach the Gospel into his 90s.
Hagin didn’t see God’s Word as an ideal, something to attain to. Again, he took it quite literally. We would do well to do the same. When God’s Word instructs us to walk in love, we need to set our hearts and keep them set to walk in love. “But you don’t understand how nasty my husband is,” someone might say. “Nobody could walk in love with this guy!” If you see God’s Word as impossible to apply in any area of your life, you are accusing God of being unjust. God would not command us to do something without offering up the ability to do it. And He’s no respecter of persons. We can’t get away with walking in love with some and not with others, for example. The expectation is that we consistently walk in love with everybody all the time.
The truth is, we are well able to execute every command God gives. He has made us partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). He has seated us with Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). He has given us His Holy Spirit to empower us. He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). We’re truly equipped for every good work.
The Benefits of Obedience
So when you read the Word of God, don’t look at it as some philosophy for an abundant life. Take every Word you read as literal – and determine to do what it says by the grace of the living God. Read the New Testament as if it’s a personal letter from God to you, offering you sound instruction and wisdom for daily life. Decide by your will that you will be a doer of the Word no matter what the world says, the flesh wants, or the devil suggests. God expects nothing less. Of course, no one is perfect. We are being changed from glory to glory. We all make mistakes when the pressure is on. When that happens, we need to quickly and truly repent.
But again, don’t let the ‘glory to glory’ reasoning or the ‘God will forgive me for this little sin, I’m under the blood’ mentality be an excuse to be lax concerning doing the Word. James warned that if we hear the Word and don’t do it, we deceive ourselves. And so you have a choice: Make a quality decision to walk in the light as a child of the light. Or make a conscious decision to walk in the darkness by hearing and understanding the Word of God and deciding not to be a doer of it. The good news is if you make a quality decision to be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only, you will walk in greater spiritual authority, hear the voice of God more clearly, and see greater manifestations of His blessing in your life. Isn’t it worth it?