This passage is also about how God’s Word must first transform and “affect” us before it can be used to have an “effect” on others. The Gospel must be experienced and be impacting before it can be used to make an impact upon others. As we feed on His Word, we grow from His precepts, and who we are and what we can be are significantly enhanced from His work in us; thus, our efforts to bring Him glory will in turn flourish. His Truth is the impact for whatever condition or situation we face. We must allow Christ to transform us as we digest His principles and apply them to our faith and lives so we can be used by our Lord to influence and affect others. Truth is bitter to those who do not like it and to those of us who need to be moved and challenged to make room for it in our mindsets and worldviews. Are His Word and precepts a part of you? If not, why not? For us to thrive as His children and His messengers, His Word must be a part of us—deeply and passionately! This means that to be an effectual Christian, we must walk in Christ and remain trusting and faithful with our confidence and submission to Him. If not, we are of no use to God or to others, and we become the noise of 1 Cor. 13:1, not the love of verses three and onward.
This is convicting and will move us beyond what we think we can do and where we can go; this bitterness can either be a barrier we refuse to trespass or an obstacle we take as a challenge to go deeper and further with what Christ has for us. Look at it this way; we are called to Fruit and Love, and to operate in His call and principles with joy. When we impact others with His Gospel, it will cause some resentment in others—perhaps even persecution. When we speak out against the sins of others, they will hate us. But, we must set the example and tell His Truth in love to others even when they do not want to hear it. Our experiences and actions will give us both sweetness and bitterness from others. If we only see the bitterness, we will gain little and the sweetness will not last. If we refuse, the journey we undertake may become bitter by our own actions, whereas we could have had the sweetness of trusting and obeying Him (Psalm 119:103; Jer. 15:16; Ezek. 3:1-11; 1 Thess. 2:13).
Questions to Ponder:
- How has God’s Word been both sour and sweet to you? How has the Christian life been sour and sweet to you?
- How have you seen God’s Word convicting and moving people beyond where they thought they could do and go? What about you?
- What needs to happen in your life and Christian walk for God’s ways to go deeper within you, changing you from the inside out? How would your learning and obedience be a prime source of joy?
- What can you do to take sin seriously and allow God’s conviction to remove what is in the way of your growth? How can you do this? Who can help keep you accountable?
- The Gospel must be experienced and impacting before we can be used to make it impact upon others. So, what are you going to do to allow God’s Word to first transform and affect you before you have an effect on others?
© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org