We know that the Bible is more than merely words. And yet there are times when we’re so familiar with hearing and reading the Word of God that we sometimes overlook the transforming power of the Scriptures.
Rich and Sarah Paulson* work with The Navigators in a part of the world where the Word of God isn’t so familiar—where the truth of the Bible isn’t discussed casually, or even openly. But when it is—usually in one-on-one encounters with individuals—the transforming impact of the Word can be clearly seen.
“Regardless of the complexity of a problem,” says Rich, “Jesus has already prepared the perfect solution. He never fails to heal the brokenhearted and set people free.” Here are just a couple of glimpses of how the truth of the Scriptures brought about change in the lives of those who encountered it.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6).
One woman we met despaired because she did all the right things—she read the Bible, she worshipped, she prayed, she waited on God—but nothing changed. When she didn’t do all these activities, she felt guilty and feared Jesus would be mad at her. I finally told her, “Jesus is not looking for religion, but relationship.” His goal isn’t perfect performance of activities, but full connection with His heart. The woman listened in stunned silence, as she reflected on her experience. As we prayed, she recalled all the wrong thinking she had believed and wept. When she renounced religion, her heart became free to enjoy a genuine relationship with Jesus.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me (Revelation 3:20).
I had known Samuel since he was a young boy, because we often helped his mother grow spiritually during our earlier visits to his city. Now a young teenager, he came to us with a problem neither he nor his mother could solve. He was plagued by fear of the dark and often had a dream in which a demon laughed mockingly at him. We prayed with him about this, but nothing changed. Something was missing.
Samuel had learned many Bible truths from his mother, but apparently he had not yet connected his heart to Jesus. I shared with him what the man who led me to Jesus told me, “When you hear Jesus knocking, you should open the door.” I understood at that time that the “door” was the door of my heart. I reminded Samuel that Jesus could not open that door from the outside. It had to be opened from the inside.
When Samuel realized Jesus had been knocking at his heart, he was deeply touched and readily welcomed Him into his life. Once Jesus lived within him, Sarah led him to pray about his fear and the demonic dream. Within a few minutes, the fear disappeared. He was free.
The Bible is more than just words. As the writer of Hebrews acknowledged, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
*Not their actual names.