It is good to know and handle the word of God because it contain His Spirit as a light that gives life (John 8:12, 1:4). However, we can handle His word without its spirit or life and light (2 Corinthians 3:6, Jeremiah 2:8).
This danger is subtle and can creep upon us if we presume our busyness— evangelizing, teaching, and caring for people, active in social networks and blogging as tantamount to having His life in abundance (John 10:10).
Even being consumed with our legitimate means of livelihood can conceal our lack of His ever abundant life beckoning on us.
The truth that God’s word is crucial and ineluctable for humans and the universe is undeniable. By His word, the cosmos was spoken into being, and our life’s origin is from Him.
To us humans, Adam being the first, God spoke not that our life should be rather, He entered man by His breath—that is, His very spirit (Life) took residence in Adam. Hence, man became a living soul. Adam came to know the life inside him as the Word — his God and Creator in whom he lived, moved and had his being (Acts 17:28).
Therefore, in their activities in Eden’s garden, God’s every word became their light and first priority. And it was to be an inheritance to their descendants.
But, with the passing of time, they gave God’s word second place in their daily living through the deception of the serpent, the devil. This meant they departed from His path of light and life into darkness or the broad way — a tragic fall from God’s grace! Hebrews 12:15a. From being a living soul, they became dead souls with fleshly might, which was no match for their enemy, Satan (a fallen angel and his cohorts).
Obviously, the kingdom of darkness gained a boast over man. Suddenly, man who through God’s grace had boldness and dominion over all of His creation had lost His glory. As a result, when God called out to Adam and Eve, they didn’t have boldness to fellowship with Him any more.
Though they still handled or remembered His word to them not to eat from the tree of good and evil, the life and light of His word had been lost. They had no power of life to obey it again. Once God’s word takes second place in man, its life and light goes out.
This should deter us ever looking away from Christ Jesus, THE NEW AND LIVING WAY that gives us boldness to fellowship with God at His throne of grace Hebrews 4:16, 10:19-22. Looking away means relegating Him to second place in our lives.
Jesus hates to be our second love or priority. It is a colossal mistake with hellish consequences.
Making Him our second priority is like knowing and handling the word without the life and light. And without light, gloom and darkness prevail. Hence, man loses direction and the essence of living which is—to praise and worship God daily.
The words of prolific writer, C. S. Lewis captured the fact of human neglect of her duties to God: “Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy”.
The word “happy” is mankind’s way of describing peace and joy. But, the word of God says to us, peace and joy are founded upon righteousness as a virtue of His kingdom (Romans 14:17). The rejection of the spirit, light and life in His word equates to us robbing ourselves of true happiness. Mankind’s own happiness is transient because it is based on things that are temporal and does fade away.
God destined righteousness, peace and joy (happiness) for man is wrapped up in His Son and in Him alone. His word carries the impact of His life as a light shining on the narrow path for all who will embrace and cling to His Son—herein is real happiness found (Psalm 119:105). His word is destined for first place in us humans and over all things and in all things. It must be so for us to have coherence, escape corruption and enjoy happiness for all eternity.
Jesus’ narrative of the rich man who existed in transient happiness while in his mortal body but ended up in perpetual unhappiness in his immortal state is a warning for mankind and the church to give God’s life and light found in His word first priority while the opportunity remains.
All who have been called into Christ are daily in this battle to “abide in Him” (1 John 2:28) described as “looking unto Jesus” in (Hebrews 12:2) and referenced as ‘your first love or the love you had at first’ in Revelation 2. In other words, to abide in Christ is to look steadily on Him (keep Him as first love) and not to make Him second priority in our daily living. That is to say, Christ as God’s light and life bound up in the word must not be separated. Handling His word without its light and life will at most, make us moralistic people.
Mistake of the Ephesians Church
What happened to Ephesus church as representing a certain church age in (Revelation 2:2-4) is an admonition for us in the twenty-first century church. They remembered the word, laboured hard, had patience and even fished out false apostles among them yet, Christ’ life and light (first love) that worked within their hearts was faded. This is a thing you and I must guard against in our own lives (Matthew 22:37-39).
Intimate relationship or fellowship with God should always come first and from its backdrop, relationships and all its activities with others.
Adam and Eve experienced the glory of God living in, walking and talking with them in Eden’s garden while He remained first in their everyday living. But as said earlier, painfully, they were eventually defeated in that garden because they demoted God’s word to second place.
God’s infinite wisdom and redemptive purpose was to later hatch, His Word became flesh and dwelt amongst men. And, in the garden of Gethsemane, the Word shed His blood, died and resurrected. Now, He lives not just among us but in us, walking and talking with us as Adam and Eve experienced Him in Eden’s garden. This time, and in this Gethsemane garden (the world), the Man Jesus has defeated the serpent.
Therefore, today, the scriptures exhort and admonish man boldly, ‘Christ in you—the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27). Not we working for the gospel but, the spirit, light and life of His word or the gospel working in us and giving out its fruit through us.
Paul the apostle had a good grasp of this. As the gospel (light and life of God’s word) worked in him, he strived to imprint the truth of Gethsemane’s victory into the heart of the church. Nevertheless, he never failed to also remind the church to learn from man’s fall in Eden through Satan’s deception (2 Corinthians 11:3).
For emphasis, Satan’s deception worked only because Adam and Eve forgot their first love. This is why the Holy Spirit is with us, always reminding and helping us not to forget our first love, Christ Jesus. And we are admonished to encourage one another daily to this end (Hebrews 3:13).
So, God is not looking for us to just know the letter of His word or is He seeking to talk “to” us, no, rather, He desires to talk “with” us—herein is life. And, He wants to “walk” with us not just “show” us the way— that is light as found in His word (Christ). He is the Light of the world (John 8:12, Revelation 21:23). Outside Him is gross darkness.
As redeemed and beloved children of God, may we find grace to keep coveting after the spirit, light and life in His scriptures, that is our first love!