"...love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God." - 1 Peter 1:23
Encouragement is not hard to come by when you actually open God's word. As a friend of mine said, "Reading the Bible always seems like a bad idea until you do it."
I've learned this again and again... and again. And still I hesitate to really dig into this word. But as Peter says in the verse above it is this word that is living and abiding in us. It is the vehicle through which we have been born again and is the imperishable seed (think new life in Christ) within us.
In the next verse Peter emphasises the awesome nature of God's word again - "... the word of the Lord remains forever." Forever is time for a long time. Forever is good, isn't it, when it's "forevering" something good.
One of my cousins said something recently that's tumbling around my cranium for the past month. He said that most seminary students don't even know their Bibles. I cringed (while keeping a poker face - I don't want anyone to know how I take the Bible for granted).
If you were to have quized me in college, and perhaps even in seminary, my Bible knowledge would have been meager. And even though I've now read the whole Bible quite a few times, I still feel it is. Perhaps this is one of Satan's ploys, just to keep us away from this powerful imperishable seed.
But this Word is so good, so attractive and so powerful that it will grow in us. Why? Because it is God's work. The gospel is not simple bible trivia knowledge, but a deep knowledge of God's love and promises (found in the Bible) wed to an experience of union with God!
Teya said something a few months back that I've really cherished. She said she had hidden a word of God in her heart. She then shared a verse which I've subsequently forgotten - I blame Satan. Perhaps a seed is already growing in her heart. I sure hope so. I want more than anything for her to have my forever too.
So if all this stuff I'm typing about is really true - God's word acting like a seed (or planting a seed - the metaphor is pretty pliable) within us, abiding and living and growing, we're in for a really good thing.
Sure we will sometimes let our Bibles collect dust, and we'll drift, grow dull and hard, but God who saves has planted a seed in us, and it will grow. That is our confidence.
How fast it grows, now I believe that's where our earnestness comes in. But even this must come from God, and it may take the a headlong plunge into the futility of our self-seeking (for me it's sometimes depression) to make us thirsty enough to drink from our fountain - not really an actual fountain (unless you have one of those water-proof Bibles).
"Oh God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you, my soul thirsts for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water..." - David