At New Hope we just wrapped up a series called “Wisdom” where we explored the nature of the Bible, how it was written and preserved, why we can have confidence in its accuracy, and how to read and study it. If you missed any of the messages I hope you will check them out (go to newhope.org and click on Weekend Services).
In our reading this week Jesus prays for all who will follow Him. In this passionate prayer, Jesus asks His Father, “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.” John 17:15-18 (NLT) This is a picture of what characterizes genuine followers – a love for the truth that shapes their lives. The idea of “holy” is to be set apart for special purposes. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord we are immediately called to live new lives that are constantly moving toward holiness. To this end, God uses the Bible to shape our values, beliefs, attitudes and behavior so that we reflect His. When you and I learn what the Bible teaches, and then adopt its teaching as our standard of conduct, we will have a positive impact in the world the way Jesus intends us to. Passion and emotional fervor for Him are good, but what He desires most is our undivided devotion to learn His ways and then follow them with all our heart, mind and strength.