Not seeing the forest for the trees. How often do I miss something that is right in front of me? I rush from here to there, not taking the time to really see much of anything. I hate to admit that there are times when I skim read Scripture- especially when I am reading passages I think I know. The ones I’ve read many times or have heard many messages preached on. Recently I was challenged to spend time in Gods Word at a specific time each day for 21 days. I spend time in His Word most days but not every day like I want to. She suggested I start with a book I’ve read and studied before. I would’ve said I know the book of John well.
John chapter 3 is how far I’ve made it on this journey. This is a chapter I’ve read many times. It’s highlighted with notes from previous sermons, studies, and time spent reading. I hate to admit this but I thought I knew what all these 36 verses had to say. I’m happy to say I was so wrong. I’m going to share with you some of the truths God revealed to me in my morning reading time.
Starting in one of the most famous verses in the Bible, John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
- The “new” truth I saw today in this verse was seeing how incredible this was at the time. Up until Jesus came, God’s chosen people were the Israelite’s. But through Christs sacrifice any and every one of us(the world) can be adopted into God’s family. It doesn’t matter who you were, where you are from, who your parents or grandparents were, or even what sin has been in your life.
John 3:17-21 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deed will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.
- The first thing that stood out to me in this passage was the reference to men means people(all people, including and especially me). We live in a society that has degraded men by magnifying their bad behavior and mocking honorable behavior-but that’s another topic for another day. It’s not just men but also women and children who try to hide our sins. I am guilty of this so many more times than I want to admit.
- We are not condemned. This is not new to me or probably you but how and why Satan uses condemnation hit me hard in this passage. Satan uses condemnation to make us ineffective in our calling. Condemnation is a choke hold Satan puts on us to keep us trapped. But Jesus came so we could have a life of freedom. Part of that freedom is being corrected. That’s where conviction comes in. Conviction is from the Holy Spirit and is always for our own good.
- Our nature is to hide our ugly parts. We’re hesitant to take of the masks we wear and show who we really are. But when we live in truth we should be transparent. Never glorifying our sin but always showing how God alone has and is changing us.
John 3:30 is a verse that I’ve heard many times but to be honest I didn’t really know where it was or what the context was until I read it just now. John 3:30 says, “He must become greater; I must become less.”
- John the Baptist got it right. When I have Christ, I have to become less(less fleshly, less self-centered, less prideful, and less concerned with earthly things) and Christ within me becomes more. He changes me from the inside out to re-present Him to the world.
I am in awe and humbled that the King of the World takes the time to reveal himself to me even when I don’t get it the first(or 27th) time. The Bible is not just a book of history but the living Word of God. Can I encourage you today to spend time in it daily, asking for new revelation, and help to implement what you learn. If you are interested in more study tips comment below.