15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
Something dire happened when we collected these letters and books putting them together in the library that we call “The Bible.” We developed something that had existed for centuries, bibliolatry. It existed and we saw it displayed in the Pharisees, the Saducees, and many other sects through history. This term, which later in history was created, is a way to capture what we have done with the Bible. It is a term which refers to, for sake of this discussion, making a book an idol. We are specifically talking about the Bible. Before you start breathing fire and marching in the streets with pitchforks looking for me, let me finish, and then ask me questions to clarify if you still disagree! 🙂
When Christ was here the Pharisees were so obsessed with the Law and the written Word that they looked past the presence of God right in front of them. They looked past the relationship they could have with Him RIGHT THEN! In the same way modern Christianity has thrown out the physical presence of Christ within us due to the danger of mysticism, though Jesus Himself said He was sending the Spirit to help us daily. The Pharisees grasped the Word and held it above all things, elevating it above the relationship aspect because it gave them power and assurance that they wouldn’t misinterpret God and be utterly decimated again as their nation had in the past… unfortunately in trying to gain assurance that they wouldn’t fail, they failed. They grasped for consistency and accurate understanding while entirely missing the purpose. In the same way modern christianity has fled from the spiritual aspect of God and clung to the Word alone because they don’t want to end up in the odd situations many churches did- speaking in tongues, playing with snakes, etc. However, in the same way the legalists did in Christ’s day, our churches have become powerless and useless. We stand looking at the Words of Jesus, to love, to unify, to accept sinners in and reconcile them to the Lord, and ignoring them all because “we have the Word.” We have destroyed our relationship with the Lord and whenever someone questions it or points out that we are obsessed with a book and lacking a relationship we grow angry and say “NO THE BOOK IS THE LORD!” We don’t display Jesus at all, His character has been abolished in our churches and we point to the ONE moment where Jesus was a little more animated (when He flipped tables in the Temple) and we say “no this is what we are doing.” We’ve cast out the majority of Jesus’ character and don’t even realize we are exactly where the Pharisees were. Now, “THE BOOK IS THE LORD” is true, God’s Word is truth and is likened to the precursor to Christ, the Word is fully manifested in Jesus and the opposite is said to be true: God’s Word fully shows us Jesus. BUT WAIT, the same is true about the Spirit. The Spirit of God was sent to dwell with us, we are told, and He was sent to guide us and help us yet we have neglected Him for another part of God. Additionally the Word is what tells us to keep in step with the Spirit TOO, to accept sinners in and love instead of beating them to death with the Bible. The Word (the same Word these people idolize) is explicit when it says to love people AGAPE LOVE. So why do they miss that part? The same reason the Pharisees were obsessed with the Law but missed what it said about Jesus. Because they aren’t seeking a relationship with the living God who is willing to show them who He is, to guide them in their moment by moment. Instead they are focused on Words on a page and hoping their fleshly mind will reveal the truth. The Word is to give us a framework to function in so that when the Spirit speaks we can assure it is Him speaking. The Spirit is to guide us in our moment by moment and the Word is here to help us see that it is truly Him speaking. Yet we are forsaking the moment by moment relationship with the Lord and only focused on the Law.
We have a dying relationship with God, dying churches, divisive preachers, hateful leaders, and a famished spiritual life. We are lacking because we are only relating with one part of God. In fact Jesus says Himself in these passages that if we only have the Word we are missing a dire part of this relationship: “Whoever has my commands and keeps them (this is the Word) is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” Contextually this was when Jesus was saying the Spirit would come to show them Jesus when His fleshly body was gone. The Word is vital, because it is the precursor to a full relationship with God. However, it was given to us so that when the Spirit is speaking to us and showing us Jesus, how to walk, how to interact with others around us, we could see and hear those things and know it is Jesus. Yet we have abandoned the Spirit, or limited Him drastically.
I want to ask you today: are you as committed to walking in the Spirit as you are to reading God’s Word? If not you are neglecting an important part of your relationship. JESUS CHRIST said He was sending the Spirit to help us, not the Word. The Word is important, and there IS an overlap between the two, but Jesus says it isn’t JUST the Bible that we are supposed to be holding dearly. We need to have a relationship with God and that comes through walking daily with the Spirit.
He gives us the opportunity to be led moment by moment, every decision being guided by Him if we so choose. Are we doing this?
Spend 1 minute thanking God for His Word which reveals His truth to us. Then spend 2 minutes asking God to help you hear Him speak. Ask Him to help you understand what the Spirit is saying in your day to day life.
We need to free christians. They are all caught up in this dead relationship like the disciples were. Pray for those around you who look just like the world, just cleaner. Pray for them to be hearing God speak today!! Then ask some of those believers if they are walking in step with the Spirit or not. If they aren’t, it’s just like a believer saying they don’t read the Word. They are neglecting God.