What’s Wrong With Free?
I sat down at my computer to write, and I noticed a flyer stuffed under my keyboard. It read “Free Online Access – to the ESV Study Bible”. It an instant, I realized there are a lot of conditional things about our relationship with God that we falsely adhere to that leave us to experience less than what He has for us.
Free online access
One of the problems with this statement is that it is conditional. I must be ‘online’ in order to ‘access’ what has been provided. If I had no internet, I could not access what was free. If I had no computer, I could not access what was free. If I could not read, I could not appreciate what was free. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father is not like that! He says to us, “Come, you who have no money, come buy and eat!” (Is 55:1) And in another passage “Come to me all you who are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28).” He graciously gives us access to His grace, His mercy, His power and His Spirit within us at all times so that our experience is not conditional upon having the ‘right connection piece.’
There is a slight catch in His beckoning in that we must be aware of our own need, our poverty without Him, our weakness in our own strength… but His Spirit helps us in our weakness (Rom 8:26-27) because we cannot conjure up the right words on our own! Just as we cannot even love without an understanding of His love for us (1 John 4:19), so we are unable to recognize our need for Him unless we are open to His Spirit’s work in our hearts.
…to the ESV Study Bible
As I pondered the card in front of me, I found it amusing that it would only give me access to one translation of the Bible. Having studied a lot about the different translations of the Scriptures, I am aware of the different tones and biases of the different translation teams. I certainly have my own preference of the translation I study God’s Word from but I am never so ignorant to supposed that my translated english accurately reflects what The Spirit desires to reveal to me.
Brothers and sisters, the Word of God is indeed ‘living and active’ and we must develop the habit of inviting Holy Spirit into our reading of His Word in order to give us understanding beyond the mere black and white letters on the page. Through our relationship with God, we have access to ‘His Translation’ for our hearts in that moment! Yes, there is wisdom in comparative study and cross-referencing for context, and biblical hermeneutics (the study of interpretation), but there is direct access to the author and perfecter of our faith which led David to say “I am smarter than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation (Ps 119:99)!”
A Better Way
So as you approach this day, pause to reflect on the truth of what it means to be in relationship with The Word. He empowers you to have the awareness of your need for Him as you set yourself before His Presence. The ‘conditions’ have all been met through His blood which He shed to make a ‘new and living way’ for us to approach His throne of grace with confidence! And it is intimacy with Him that will awaken our hearts and minds to the freedom that comes when we walk by The Spirit. May His Words be the daily bread that you depend on, not the occasionally-available-online-access or printed-text.
I challenge you today to place a nugget of truth in your heart like the Psalmist said: I have hidden your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee!
There is more!