Our attitude toward God’s word affects every facet of our lives. Those who see the Bible as dense and confusing will likely be inconsistent in our living. Those who think the Bible is stale and dry will inevitably seek meaning from “more pleasurable” endeavors. Those who view God’s word as living and life-changing are the very ones whose lives ARE changed by the gospel. Which are you?
The word of God is powerful (Rom 1:16), and hearts are changed when it is allowed to prick and penetrate (cf. Acts 2:36-37). Our faith and commitment to Christ will be deeper and stronger ONLY if we continue to allow the word of God to change us for good! This is the essence of having a “heart on fire” for God. How can Christians have more enthusiasm for the word of God? Consider the following:
Develop a Deep Love for Truth — “His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not” (Jer. 20:9). Jeremiah wanted to quit preaching, but he couldn’t stop because he understood the urgency and life-changing power of God’s word. Discouragement may well set in with us, too, but the remedy for discouragement is found in developing the same love for truth that Jeremiah had. No one who truly understands and contemplates the value of a soul (Mk. 8:36-37) will give up trying to reach souls with the gospel. “Rivers of water run down mine eyes because men do not keep Your law” (Psalm 119:136).
Choose to Hunger for the Word — “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psalm 119:103). Are we more like Jesus today than we were yesterday? Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matt. 5:6)? People who are physically hungry recognize the need to choose nutritious, satisfying food instead of “junk” food. Unfortunately, many spiritually malnourished people choose to feed themselves a steady diet of garbage (TV, movies, magazines, etc.) and later wonder why their hearts do not burn for the gospel. The way we choose to satisfy our spiritual appetite will affect where we spend eternity (John 12:48-49). “Your words were found and I did eat them; and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (Jer. 15:16).
Become a Careful Listener to God’s Word — “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32). Those disciples on the road to Emmaus spent time with Jesus, and as a result their hearts burned within them. God’s word has that kind of power — it stirs the intellect as well as the emotions. Too often we develop a mind for things that don’t matter, and as a result we may be unwilling or unable to listen for things that really do matter (cf. Phil. 4:8)! Those who truly long to change their lives to be more Christlike will strive to listen intently when His word is being taught. Listening is active, not passive. It takes energy to listen. The disciples on the road to Emmaus heard the words of the Old Testament proclaimed as they never had before (cf. Luke 24:27), and their eyes were opened to life-changing truth!
The Bible describes men and women who loved God’s word as having, “burning hearts.” The key to loving truth to such a degree is found in our willingness to accept, embrace, and apply it in our daily lives. Let’s make sure our faith is not dead (cf. James 1:22; 2:26). Let’s make sure God’s word is burning in our hearts! — John Baker