by Elisha Dyer
Growing up in the Mississippi River Delta in Southeast Missouri, Christianity was almost a given. Attending church and hearing the name of Jesus was as familiar as ordering sweet tea with your BBQ sandwich. For me, though, knowing Christ and becoming more like Him was all-together different from being a part of my Christian culture there. While my parents were Bible-believing, church-going folk, it took encountering God’s Word, delivered powerfully, for me to yield my life and will to Jesus. Hearing God’s Word is what captured me then and still captivates me today.
One night at a church revival, God’s Word became more than a set of words to memorize for the pleasure of my Sunday School teacher, and more than a set of instructions to follow so I could feel good about myself. God’s Word was spoken by the revival preacher and it penetrated my very soul. In all of my 4th-grade capacity, I realized I had a major problem: sin. And I realized that God had already solved it: the Savior. In confessing my guilt and repenting of my sin, I received forgiveness and eternal life.
God’s Word became my reality that day. He captivated me. He showed me Truth. He offered Himself. He invited me to be His and I said yes!
Since that day, being a Christ-follower and becoming more like Him has been both simple and complex. The road from there to here has been daunting, amazing, confusing, wild, wearying and wonderful. But God in His grace and kindness has been with me. Hope is stirred in me when I read Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” The good work He began in me will be brought to fruition...even when I flounder and forget. He will do it. He is able.
As humans, we become what we behold. The amazing thing is this: the One whom we most need to behold has made Himself available and knowable. He has revealed Himself in and through His Word.
My 5-year-old son Allister wants to be just like his daddy, Tim. He wants to dress like him, talk like him, and do what he does. It’s precious to see the intensity with which our little boy wants to be like his big grown-up daddy! If he keeps it up, Allister is likely to be the “spittin’ image” of Timothy Dyer!
Ephesians 5:1 says “Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children.” Allister knows how much Tim enjoys him and he responds with incredible effort and often singular focus to be just like his dad. It’s a precious picture of what our Christ-following can look like. Because of God’s great love for us, we love Him and want to be like Him. Like Allister with Tim, we seek to be like God. We hunt for a chance to hang out with Him and ask to be His sidekick.
I want to picture myself like His dearly loved child, who wants to be just like her loving Heavenly Father. I long to have the heart and mind of Christ. Though Christ isn’t here bodily, we can hear His voice. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we have access to Him through the Holy Scriptures. Through this great provision of self-disclosure, God has revealed so much through the Bible. When we go to the Scriptures, it’s like we are sitting with Him and He is pouring out Himself to us. Seeking God through his Word is the primary way to better understand the character of God and His plans for eternity. It brings to light how I, as his daughter, might participate meaningfully in His Kingdom work.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” When we seek God in His Word, He is as close as a thought..as near as a prayer. God’s Word reveals His heart, His mind, His ways, and His plans! Oh, how glorious that He would lavish us with His grace, love, provision and the beauty of knowing Him personally.
2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “Beholding the glory of the Lord, [we are] transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” In beholding the glory of the Lord in His Word, we are changed to be more like Him. We can see who we are more clearly, and by the power of His love and grace, we cling to sin less. We release our will and our way for that which is FAR greater. The beauty of His holiness wins the heart, and the mind is drawn to think His thoughts and to love as He loves. Oh, the beauty of the way He can transform a life!
Bible Study is only beneficial insofar as it increases our love for the God it proclaims. Bible study is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. It is a means to love God more and to live differently because we have learned to behold him better...Bible literacy that does not transform is a chasing after the wind. Christians will be known by our love, not our knowledge.” Jen Wilkin, Women of the Word, pg. 147
When people see me, they may not see someone who looks like Jesus. But I hope they see someone who seeks to love like Jesus. I am becoming more like Christ as I behold Him in God’s Word. Won’t you join me?
Here are some resources for your enrichment and encouragement.
Resources to better understand God’s Word: