By Person AND By Letter

With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter. 2 Thess. 2:15 NLT
Preparing for my Sunday School class last week, this Scripture verse caught my attention. We have been studying the letters Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, a church born in the midst of struggle. In his 2nd letter, Paul corrected their errors and encouraged them again to stand firm in the face of persecution. He urged them to “keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter.” The Thessalonians heard from Paul both in person and by letter.

Likewise, we need to hear from God both in person and by letter.

Supernaturally, by the Holy Spirit, we can experience the presence of God. We sense His leading. We feel His peace. We are strengthened by His power. We can hear from God in person.
We also hear from God through the Bible, His love letter to us, His children. The words in the Word are “living and active.” They are not merely ink on a page. They speak directly to our hearts in miraculous ways.

The danger is when our relationship with God is one OR the other.

I know some Christians who have an entirely experiential relationship with God. They rarely read the Bible. They don’t ever memorize Scripture. They attend Christian functions, listen to Christian radio and music, shoot off prayer requests, even serve in ministry. But they depend upon experiences alone to hear from God. Maybe a word from the pulpit or from another Christian hits a nerve. But without reading the Bible on their own, they are like a boat without an anchor. They drift along from experience to experience without any foundation. In the book of Acts, Luke tells us that he Beareans were considered more noble than those in Thessalonica because after they heard the word from Paul, they searched the Scriptures to see if what Paul was saying was true. Likewise, we must partake of our spiritual food (milk as babes, then meat) to grow into mature Christians. When we speak we use words, when God speaks, He uses His Word.
I know other Christians who are scholars in the Word. They can cite verse and address and put myself to shame. But the danger here is that it is just head knowledge. An old tract was titled, “Missing Heaven By 18 Inches” because 18 inches is the distance between our head and our heart. We can store up much information in our brains, but if we lack love, we are just a resounding gong and will be lacking the other fruits of the Spirit - joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Today, would you join me and let's examine ourselves?
Let us always seek to hear from God both in person and by letter!


Jeanette Levellie said...

Dear Susan: I love this post! I never thought about this, but you are so right. We need balance to stay strong and withstand the onslaughts of the devil.

Thanks for your wisdom and encouragement,
Audience of ONE

Diane said...

Hi Susan,

Today’s blog hit me hard; I’m simply not spending enough time in God’s word. Thanks for the encouragement; I needed a good “kick” to remind me of the importance.

I wish we had more time to catch up at the Beth Moore simulcast. Hope all is well and see you soon.

Keep writing!!!


Audrey said...

thank you for that word today!!!!!!

sharon said...

Hi Susan...
What a sweet reminder. I get in ruts of one or the other sometimes.
Blessings! A writers critique groupee!

Marlene Rodgers said...

Hi Susan, I was thinking about my friend who is very "spiritual" and at times makes me feel like I'm behind the door. I think that God wants us at our own level to enjoy his "gifts and promises". I have seen christians not grow, that doesn't mean they are not "saved" they are just people who do not have the personality to be the most "spiritual" in the group. We are all different and learn at different paces and I myself like to keep my eyes on the "Center Cross" not looking around for the drifters or the slackers. I believe God speaks to our hearts any way. any how, any where. We can only be a good example and show the baby christians our love.
Getting back to my friend brings back memmories of her telling me things like if you don't speak in tonges your not saved. What hogwash was that. It only made me stay away from her pompus lectures of her biblical knowledge, I did do my own research and found truth. I hope that I don't sound like I'm ranting but God's Word is sweet and loving letter but only few seek that knowledge and we must keep praying for the unsaved.
Thanks for the teaching.
Marlene Rodgers