Our God’s Word Quotes for today is all about us. Let’s start here, did you know God has given us the Holy Spirit to be a comfort, a guide, and a prayer partner Who will help us when we don’t know how or what to pray? Those are all Biblical traits or characteristics of the Holy Spirit. Do you know we can do those same things for others and others can do that for us with one important difference…God did not create us to be someone else’s Holy Spirit. Yes, we can help others and yes, we may even have some Christian authority in the life of others like our children or spouse, but we are not the Holy Spirit in someone else’s life.
This next quote in our God’s Word Quotes series is from St. Mark the Ascetic. Mark the Ascetic was born in Athens in the fifth century and lived in the Egyptian desert as a monk. He spent 60 years in prayer and fasting and knew all the Scriptures by heart. He is quoted as saying, “A humble man who lives a spiritual life, when he reads the Holy Scriptures, will relate all things to himself and not to others.” See why we started with a refresher on the role of the Holy Spirit.
See, when I sit down and read my Bible, it is for my instruction, my correction, and my training at that moment. If I sit down to read with the purpose of finding verses to correct my husband, children, friends or foes, I have completely missed my ‘me’ time with God. I am telling you, we need to be selfish during this time even if only to keep us humble. This time is for us. Now, if God wants to use this time to help us understand other people better or even for the purpose of fraternal correction, He will tell us. We don’t need to tell Him. Does that make sense?
If we approach the Scriptures with the purpose of finding truth for others, we totally and completely miss the truth for ourselves. This truth can be a correction or a conviction about sin…but it can also be the truth about God’s forgiveness, love, and mercy for us. Goodness, it gets dangerous when we read the Scriptures in light of someone else’s soul and neglect our own.
So how do we avoid this temptation of reading for application to others? We pray. We ask God, before we even begin reading, to show us what He wants us to see, learn, and understand. We spend that time in communion with Him, in relationship with Him, letting Him lead and guide us where He wants us to go. This God’s Word Quote from St. Mark the Ascetic is right in line with the Gospel of Mark 7:5, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
I think there are a couple of key words in that verse above: First, then, clearly. If we sit down to read the Bible (with a plank in our eye) for the intention of knowing how big the plank in our brother’s eye is, or what type of plank it is, or even, in all Christian charity, how we should pull it out…we won’t be able to see the Word clearly, ‘Word’ capital W as in Jesus.
But if we sit down during this time with the intention of first learning and knowing God better, of learning and knowing ourselves the way God knows us…then, maybe, according to His Will, we will be able to see someone else clearly. But only if we do first things first.