September 18, 2019 • Life for Leaders
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Today I’d like to suggest one additional way for you to examine your life carefully. Do so with Scripture!
Now, I expect this might seem pretty obvious to you, given what Life for Leaders is all about. For the last 1,631 days, we have emailed you devotions that are meant to help you examine your life in light of Scripture. If you’re a Life for Leaders reader, then you obviously value God’s Word and its relevance for your life.
But, sometimes we can turn the study of the Bible into more of an intellectual exercise than an occasion for deep personal reflection and growth. Now let me be clear. I’m not being critical of folks who do theology based on Scripture. In fact, in much of my life I am one of those folks. But because I often think about the theological implications of a biblical passage, I can easily miss the ways in which a passage might address my life. Even more to the point, I can miss what God wants to say to me about my life through a portion of his Word. Perhaps you can relate.
A stunning passage in the New Testament book of Hebrews challenges us to allow God’s Word to penetrate deep into our hearts: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13). As God’s Word uncovers and lays bare everything about us, we are able to see ourselves and our lives with crystal clarity. We can see all the ways we are flourishing and all the ways we are stunted. We can ask in new ways for God’s help to live wisely and well.
Now, the notion that God sees everything in us may make us more than a tad uncomfortable. Do you really want a holy, just God to know all of your weaknesses? Before you answer this question, let’s keep on reading in Hebrews 4: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16). Did you see that? Jesus understands and empathizes with your weaknesses. Therefore, you don’t have to fear being laid bare before God. In fact, you can come before God in utter confidence that you will receive mercy and grace.
Scripture penetrates our hearts, showing us all that is true about us, the good and the bad, not so that we might live in fear of God, and not so that we might be condemned, but so that we might open to God all that we are. Through his Word, God shows us the truth about ourselves so that we might receive his mercy in new ways and, by his grace, grow to be everything God has created us to be.
Something to Think About:
Can you think of a time (or of times) in your life when Scripture helped you to see yourself and your life with new clarity?
How do you really feel about the idea that God sees everything in your life, that nothing is hidden from him?
Are you able to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence and openness? Why or why not?
Something to Do:
As the Lord to show you through Scripture something about yourself that you need to know. When this happens, share what you have found with the God who receives you gladly and who offers mercy and grace to help you in your time of need.
Gracious God, thank you for the gift of your Word. Thank you for the times you speak to me through Scripture. Thank you for revealing to me things about myself that I need to know, so that I might receive more of your grace, and so that I might grow to be more like Christ.
Help me, dear Lord, to be open to all that you want to teach me and to all that you want to show me about myself. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project:
Why Does Scripture Matter?
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.