Only God can do certain things. Only I can do certain things. Only God can convict me of my sin, and only God can convert me. Only I, however, can repent of my sin. Only I can make that choice to follow Jesus Christ.
But here’s the incredibly good news: God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, has given you everything you need to live a Christian life. Could I spell that significant word for you? E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Here’s how it reads in 2 Peter 1:3 (TLB): “For as you know him better, he will give you, through his great power, everything you need for living a truly good life: he even shares his own glory and his own goodness with us!”
It was Alexander McLaren who said, “He that has the Holy Spirit in his heart and the Scripture in his hands has all he needs.”
Scripture in his hands ... God speaks to us primarily through the Word, the book we call the Bible. And by the way, you will never, never outgrow or get beyond this. Psalm 119:159, 160 (NLT) says, “See how I love your commandments, Lord ... All your words are true; all your just laws will stand forever.”
It was English preacher Charles Spurgeon who said, “Nobody ever outgrows Scripture. The Book widens and deepens with our years.” That is so true — and it continually amazes me. You don’t outgrow your need to study the Bible any more than you outgrow your need to eat food.
Can you imagine anyone saying something like this? “Yes, I used to be into that whole eating thing. Every day. Three times a day. Sometimes even with snacks in between. But I don’t need that anymore. I’ve moved beyond that.”
Or what about someone who would say? “Breathing? Oh yeah, I used to breathe with the best of them. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. On and on. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it was kind of a phase in my life. I’m not into breathing anymore.”
The trouble is, if you’re not into breathing, you aren’t into living, either.
In the same way, if you’re not into the regular reading and study of the Bible, you will find yourself drifting like a boat that has lost its mooring. It’s not enough to just go to church once or twice a week, read good Christian books, and maybe tune in to some great Christian podcasts. Those things are all wonderful and have their place. But nothing will ever take the place of you opening up your Bible — whether it be between two covers or downloaded on your phone or tablet — and reading it every single day. God Himself will personally speak to you through the words of the Bible.
“Well,” you say, “I’m not much of a reader.”
Then become one.
“But Greg, I never read that much growing up.”
Neither did I. I never really read at all as a boy. But as I opened God’s Word, it began to change my life. And it happened so much more quickly than I could have ever imagined.
I remember being amazed — truly stunned — at how it resonated with truth. How it spoke to me. How it related to what I was facing as a 17-year-old kid back in 1970. And here’s the thing that makes this supernatural. It will still resonate every bit as much with a 17-year-old kid in 2023. Or a person who is 78 years old. Or whatever your age, background, or literacy level might be.
Did I understand everything I read as a teenager? No. But what I did understand began to transform my life. I’ve been reading and studying the Bible for decades. But I still encounter fresh, life-shaping truths almost every day — things I had never even considered before. This Book is truly supernatural! It’s the Word of God, and if you want to grow spiritually, you need it in your life. This is the user’s manual you’ve been searching for, and you’ll never find a better one.
Start reading it, and you’ll be amazed to find a personalized message tailored just for you, and your present situation.
In Psalm 19:7 (NKJV) we read: “The law of the Lord is perfect ...”
In other words, the Word of God is sufficient for our needs.
The phrase “the Law of the Lord” is a Hebrew term that simply means the Scriptures. We could just as easily substitute “the Word of God” or “the Bible.” The Bible is perfect and perfectly meets our needs. It speaks to longings in our hearts that we’ve never even been able to put into words.
Where are you going to turn in a time of crisis? When tragedy hits? When disaster strikes? When you just flat out don’t know where to go or what to do? Social media? Good luck with that! Your favorite website? The news channels? Hardly. What you need is something that will give you strength and direction in your time of crisis — something that will build you up from the inside out. And that will come from the Word of God.
One writer said, “One gem from that ocean is worth all of the pebbles from earthly streams.” That is so true. Just a pebble from the ocean of God’s Word can make all the difference in the world. How many people across the world, through generation after generation, have found comfort from Scripture in their times of confusion, affliction, or sorrow? One person wrote, “He who rejects the Bible has nothing to live by. Neither does he have anything to die by.”
I can tell you from personal experience that I have put the Word of God to the test. Through the months of grieving for my son, Christopher, who unexpectedly left for Heaven in 2008, I have trusted in what the Bible has said. It has sustained me through the darkest hours, and given me direction, hope, and comfort when I needed it most.
Little platitudes or clever sayings just won’t cut it when you’re in trouble or suffering. But the Word of God speaks to any and every situation. No matter how deep the pit in which you find yourself. No matter how complicated the situation that’s on your doorstep.
I urge you to get a good foundation in this Book because it’s only a matter of time until hardship, affliction, or even tragedy will strike you. That’s not being negative; it happens in every life, without exception. But if we have a foundation in the Word of God, we’ll be ready for it when it comes. Don’t wait until you’re in the midst of a crisis and try to catch up on all the spiritual help and insights you never had time for. Start now. Get that foundation now, and take the teachings of Scripture to heart.
Trends, theories, styles, and philosophies come and go. But the Word of God is never out of style and will never be out of date. This morning’s headlines will fade like smoke in the wind, but the Word of God will always be relevant. As the prophet said, “Your mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23).
“The law of the Lord is perfect ...”
That word translated as “perfect” here could also be translated as whole, complete, or sufficient. The Bible is sufficient. I don’t need to add to it or take away from it. In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul writes: “All Scripture is inspired by God.” Or literally, “It is God-breathed.” That means that the Bible is God’s infallible Word. The original autographs, that is, the first copies, were without errors. There are no mistakes and there are no contradictions.
The Word of God has stood the test of time, and you can depend on it. It is God’s gift to us. Psalm 19:7 goes on to say: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”
This phrase “converting the soul” could be translated as “It revives us. It restores, transforms, and changes us.”
If you don’t need to be changed, then maybe you don’t need the Bible. If you’ve got it all together and don’t have any questions, don’t have any conflicts, and feel that your life is perfect, then I guess you can ignore the Word of God. But if you’re like the rest of us, and you’re aware of your weakness, your inadequacies, and your need for God, then you will be thankful to know that the Word of God is perfect and that it can transform you, helping you to become the person God has called you to be.
But it’s not just enough to read it. You must process it. And then you must obey it, doing what it says. The apostle James tells us not to be like the guy at a party who has a piece of spinach on his front tooth, looks in a mirror, and then shrugs his shoulders and walks back into the party with a green tooth.
James writes: “Don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves ... If you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”
That’s the Word of God, and you can take it to the bank.
Greg Laurie is the pastor and founder of the Harvest churches in California and Hawaii and Harvest Crusades. He is an evangelist, best-selling author and movie producer. “Jesus Revolution,” a feature film about Laurie’s life from Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Company, releases in theaters February 24, 2023.