I have been reading and rereading the book, Saving Euthychus: How to preach God’s word and keep people awake. In it the author quotes the 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon who said that “‘. . . we need to defend the Bible about as much as we need to defend a lion.’ A much better strategy is to let it loose. When we teach the Bible, our goal or aim should always be to ‘uncage the lion.'”
Of course, the point being made is that preachers need to let the Word of God do most of the talking in our sermons. Now that might require some unpacking on our part to help the modern reader understand what was written thousands of years ago. What was written then is applicable to our lives now and we realize that once we understand it; and, helping us do that is part of the preacher’s task.
Once the Word is “uncaged” in our lives it works to transform us from the inside out. Too often we try to change using external factors like rules and rituals. What really changes us is the Word of God working in conjunction with God’s own Holy Spirit in our lives.
Hebrews 4:12 is one of those Bible verses that we memorize as kids. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (NLT) It is that power (like that of a lion) that God uses to make us like His Son. The power of a lion was made evident to me as a kid. My family lived a mile from the World Famous Topeka Zoo (Famous was actually a part of the name). Early in the morning and late in the evening we could hear the lions roaring in anticipation of being fed. That is a powerful roar, to be heard a mile away.
Have you let God’s Word work powerfully in your life? Sometimes it stays caged up because of our busy-ness. We don’t seem to have time to refresh it in our lives because there are so many things going on we never read the Bible. Sometimes we are just plain lazy and won’t make time to read or study God’s Word or even listen to it in a worship service. At some point in life we need to decide what is really important to us. Do we want to go through life trying to do everything by our own feeble energy or rely on God’s power living in us.
Paul was thankful for the believers in Thessalonica because they understood what was important. “Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13 NLT)
Set God’s Word free in your life and see what powerful things happen.