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I long to see Christ formed in me and in those around me. Spiritual formation is my passion. My training was under Dallas Willard at the Renovare Spiritual Formation Institute. One of my regular prayers is this: "This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak, and in the mouth of each who speaks unto me."

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Jesus Fills the Scriptures

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:2)

I looked up the Greek word for "fulfill" and found play-rah'-oh, which means in this case to meets the demands and fulfill the promises of the Law and the Prophets. The real question comes when I ask, "How?"

The thought that God brought to me before I looked up this information is that Jesus fills up the Scriptures with his very being and life. That is why he could tell the Pharisees that even though they study the Scriptures because they think they will find life in them, what they really need is to find Jesus and have life through him. This implies that Jesus himself is the life of the Scriptures. So I think of him filling them with life, animating them.

This fits well with the idea in Matthew 5:17 of Jesus fulfilling the demands and the promises of the Law and the Prophets. Instead of Jesus fulfilling them merely through an exchange of his life for mine, he also fulfills them by infusing his life into mine in such a way that the Scriptures become something I can truly live and not merely read. His salvation then becomes not merely and exchange or a bargain, but a way of living.

But even more helpful for me was the comfort of the Bible being full of Jesus. The truth of the matter is that I can enjoy him and his presence through the words of the Bible. Although I may be tempted to neglect the Scriptures for a variety of reasons, all I do is find myself distanced from Jesus and knowing him less. For this journey, my days of weariness and sadness are days that I need more of him, not less.

Drinking deeply of his presence through the written Word comes most through short phrases and single ideas. I am comforted by the idea that Jesus did not come to destroy the written word or devalue it, but rather to make it a grand path to his life, his heart, and his mind. Certainly it is not enough in itself, as the Pharisees found out, but it is sufficient to be used mightily by Jesus in my life. I love the Bible, but not merely for itself, but where it comes from and where it leads me to.

Lord, even if no one else wants to drink from the cup of Scriptures, which are full of you, let me not grow weary or discouraged. A while ago I gave in and said I would be a "fanatic" for you and your written word if you wanted. I have seen you use it to reform my mind and change my heart by teaching me to delight in hearing you through the Bible more than delighting in being right through it. Keep my heart pure. Amen.

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