Respecting the Lord and His Scriptures

By Kit R. Olsen

A relevant Scripture regarding the life change one should continuously contemplate after receiving Yeshua (Jesus) as Lord and Savior is found in the book of Romans. This is a very important Scripture. I believe I would have never strayed from the Lord in the early days if I had really understood this principle:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8).

It is not uncommon for some believers after getting saved to disregard the importance of “renewing” our minds. Instead of living for the Lord and reevaluating how we should go about living, some believers continue to live with questionable motives or as if they never really made a true commitment to the Lord.

Are we really dedicated to God or are we trying to control everything around us? Are we truly saved or using God as an angle to make money or achieve notoriety? It is always best for us to let the Lord be our agent and promoter in whatever we are working on. If we trust Him, and. get out of His way, He will bring results into our lives that He knows are best for us.

As believers, Scripture teaches we should work on the disciplined renewing of our minds daily, growing in the Lord, committed to getting a better understanding of God’s true will for our lives. Sometimes we can be so busy doing things we think we are doing for the Lord, but miss His best for us.

An example of this would be not studying and comparing teachings in light of Scripture, but instead one might function in complacency, on autopilot, never delving deeply into some important issues of doctrine. Or attending church on Sunday, but the rest of the week spending more time on social events and the selfish pursuit of personal projects that far outweigh the time given to the Lord, things that have nothing or very little to do with renewing one’s mind and growing as a believer.

When I was first saved, in the early years, I really didn’t understand what it meant to put the Lord first. I was still trying to fit Him into my agenda. I told myself I wanted the Lord’s will for my life, but it took some time to let go and change my daily priorities; to really begin to surrender to the Holy Spirit and consciously begin the process of transforming and the renewing of my mind. It is a never-ending, ongoing process.

Salvation should not be the only goal in knowing God. We are saved by faith and faith alone, but we should want learn how to live our lives to please the Lord and follow His teachings—as expressed in Colossians 1:10:

“That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing the knowledge of God.”

We can all become vulnerable to falling into personal lifestyle comfort zones, and not regularly reexamining the meaning of the Scriptures. I would say when the Lord commanded us to not be conformed to this world, but to be “transformed by the renewing” of our minds, He was sending us a very important message.

Every person is individually accountable to God. Perhaps we won’t always be popular when we take a strong stand for biblical truth, but at least we will not become part of the “lukewarm” church. Safety in numbers has been proven to be a myth.

Selective acceptance and application of only some of the teachings the Lord left us in His Scriptures is guaranteed to keep us from experiencing a close, personal relationship with Him. Messiah Jesus spoke strongly against continuing to live in a manner that would show little commitment to Him (Revelation 3:15-16).

Anyone can make a “profession of faith.” But not everyone who makes a profession of faith follows through with a repentant heartfelt commitment; lifestyle and attitude change.

It is true that some professing “believers” are simply social “pew sitters” with little or no interest in examining the Scriptures, much less applying the teachings of the Bible to their daily lives. But Christ asks more of us. We are commanded to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).

If we are sincere in our professions of faith believing God and accepting His teachings in the Bible, then loving the Lord and serving Him should be at the top of our lists each day; studying our Bibles, spending time in prayer, communicating with fellow believers, and sharing the salvation message with others. Our love for the Lord will spill over into all areas of our lives and life will be a blessing and a joy.

I once heard Bible teacher David Hocking say, “Many people think they are Christians but have no understanding of the Bible.” The job of a believer is to thoroughly study the teachings in the Bible searching the Scriptures daily, as taught in (Acts 17:11) and to tell others about the “Light”—Jesus Christ and His free gift of salvation (Mark 16:15).

When talking about the love of the Lord Jesus, Pastor Charles Stanley has stated this about Him: “I’ll always be here with open arms. When you come to the end of yourself, I’ll be here waiting.” When we give up control, put God first and yield to the Holy Spirit, we can to move forward with Christ and truly grow as believers.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2: 20).

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:3a).

“But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20).

According to Scripture, a weak “commitment” is a tremendous insult to the Lord. Messiah Jesus admonished the Laodiceans, and left the same message for us in His Holy Scriptures:

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

Some say as long as all believers agree on the “core” issues of the faith—the virgin birth, the Trinity, the death and Resurrection of Jesus, the One God of the Bible, the return of Messiah Jesus, salvation, eternal life, and eternal punishment, that one can interpret Scripture a number of different ways.

To imply that other teachings in the Bible can be treated with less responsibility, with less respect than the “core” issues, and be given multiple meanings is in essence usurping the authority of the Bible, and rewriting the inspired, inerrant Word of God.

We should always keep in mind that every passage in the Bible has only one primary meaning. However, there may be many applications. Every doctrine found in the Bible is absolute. No doctrine can have two or more correct meanings. It is always the responsibility of every believer to diligently study the Scriptures so he has the correct understanding of every doctrine and passage in the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15).

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20).

“For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33a).

Put on the New Self

“Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2).

“Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

As believers, we are called to be disciples. A disciple is an individual who believes and follows the teachings and truth of Messiah Jesus, a true born again believer. As we grow in Christ we increase our “walk” and our devotion to Him. If we truly put Christ first every day, our love and desire for activities that take us away from Him will decrease.

Being “still” and communing alone with the Lord through focused prayer and committed Bible study will become a top priority, not multiple “social” activities that distract us from our spiritual growth. This is an important aspect of renewing our minds. If we do not have a strong prayer and study time, how can we serve the Lord and accurately decipher the messages in the Bible? God is always available to us as we seek to make Him the top priority of daily lives.

How seriously we take the Word of God, how we think, what we think, how we behave and live our lives is a reflection of just how devoted we are to the Lord, and how authentic we are as believers. I once heard a pastor say, “Without application there is no transformation.” The delivery was dynamic, filled with love and passion for the Lord─a message that should be preached in every church throughout America, and often.

When we don’t study and know our Bibles, and fail to truly apply its teachings to our personal lives we cannot genuinely grow spiritually, reap the blessings of the Lord or be effective witnesses and give our best to Him.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22, 25).

“But we will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).

End Notes
Excerpts taken from, A Better World Is Coming Soon - Don’t Miss It Expanded 2013 Edition, Kit R. Olsen, World Bible Society.