Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Beyond Mere Words

Everything in this world is endeavored to be defined by words. The words are not the thing itself, but the words attempt to give a precise description or definition of the thing in question. Since every one of us construe our reality according to our own preferences, experiences and perceptions the thing’s appearance will be formed in our minds differently. It is only when we see or experience the real thing that we are able to shed away with our misconceptions, and vagueness is exchanged with knowledge.

Words are static and lifeless in this sense. Their mission is often just to point to a higher reality. Words have the inherent power that when they are applied as just words they might limit and fence in life itself. There is perhaps no wonder then that the authors of the Bible refer to it as the scripture and not God’s word, because words so often are misused, notably words which we dedicate to a divine authority. We have all experienced firsthand how words uttered by man either build up or tear down. Criticism and rejection cripple. Praise and acceptance edify. God, however, utilized words to create the visible world.

Unfortunately, words are often used as a means of control. They are even used to hide behind and thus cover up nakedness. The word of God is never applied to further any of this, because it is more than mere letters. It is a dynamic life-giving person - Christ. Letters put together into words can merely present a shadow of His reality. The apostles wrote letters in order to help people get a clearer idea of His person, but only those who had met Him knew the real thing.

Paul warns his audience that the letter kills, and continues by saying that it is the Spirit that gives life. It is the Spirit who gives substance to what the words are hinting at. Only the Spirit can apply the scriptures correctly, and is the one in us who helps us discern which part of the written word that applies to our life right now. The Spirit is, however, not limited by letters; “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). This is our freedom in Christ - this is genuine life. Life is not fenced in by letters, whether carved in stones or written.

The word of God is not finished. Since it is a dynamic life-giving power it continues to create and the letters He writes are written on hearts of flesh. Every day of our lives a new chapter is added to His word.

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