Open My Eyes to Your Word
BY JORDAN MAYER
“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”
This past Sunday, several members of our church community got up to speak the words of Jesus in Scripture. It was truly a profound experience. As I listened, I had two thoughts come into my mind.
First, I was reminded of Scripture’s power, especially the power of it spoken aloud.
I think of Jesus during His temptation in the desert. As Satan attacks Him with his lies, Jesus responds with God’s Word. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 3:4). “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Matthew 3:7). “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve” (Matthew 3:10).
In Ephesians 6, Paul outlines the various elements of a Christian’s armor. We are clad in the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the readiness of the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation. But notice, only one offensive weapon is given. It is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
The Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). It trains us in righteousness and equips us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). It does not return void, but accomplishes its purpose (Isaiah 55:11).
This was the same Word spoken on Sunday. Think about that. The very words of God Almighty were heard aloud in that room. And they are there before us each time we open our Bible.
As I sat there, still and quiet, hearing God’s Word spoken, I also felt convicted. How often do I just bask in the light of God’s truth? How often do I simply sit under the weight of Scripture?
I find I am sometimes too quick to pick up a devotional or page through a commentary. Do not misunderstand me, devotionals, commentaries, and various Christian books are all wonderful resources. We are truly blessed by the abundance of Christ-exalting, biblically based literature available to us. But I have found, in my own life, a hidden danger of making these supplementary resources the default and primary focus of my quiet time.
If I am being completely honest with myself, the root is often one of laziness. As I hit a roadblock with a particular passage, how tempting it is to just reach for the commentary to ease my frustrations or to abandon the effort altogether with a straightforward, perfectly packaged daily devotional.
Simply put, Scripture can be downright hard to read. But Paul actually goes a step further. In our own strength and apart from the Holy Spirit, Scripture is actually impossible to read, in the sense of being able to truly understand and apply it. Listen to what Paul says to the Corinthians:
“These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:10-13)
No one can know the thoughts of God other than the Spirit of God. And it is the Spirit of God that has been given to us when we believe upon Christ as our Lord and Savior.
We can carve out the time in our schedule, find a quiet place to read, and open the pages of our Bible, but what happens next does not rest in our own abilities. It is solely a work of the Spirit to know the thoughts of God. Praise God for the Spirit’s help!
As John Piper puts it, “One of the greatest privileges of having two good eyes is that we can read God’s word. But there is another set of eyes that have to be opened if the glory of God’s word is to shine in our hearts — namely, the eyes of our hearts” (John Piper, The Shepherd, the Host, and the Highway Patrol).
So, we have set aside a time to read. We have found a solitary place. We grip the sword of the Spirit tightly in our hands. Here lies a critical moment, a crossroads of sorts. In many ways, reading God’s Word is an act of faith. Will we pursue God’s Word in our own strength, by the power of our own reasoning and mental faculties? Or, will we submit our minds and surrender our will to the power of the Spirit?
Often, my defeats in my quiet time are linked to my failure to properly prepare, namely to pray for the Spirit’s guidance in helping me understand God’s truth. So now I pray.
Lord, open my eyes to behold wondrous things from your law (Psalm 119:18). Teach me wisdom in the secret heart (Psalm 51:6). Do not let me go from this place without being changed and transformed by your truth, renewed in my mind and thinking. Not my will, but your will be done in this time. Lord, I trust you, by your Spirit inside me, to reveal what it is you want me to see in your Word. For it is you who gives wisdom, and it is from your mouth that true knowledge and understanding come (Proverbs 2:6).
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