Jesus makes us holy, making us clean by washing through His word. Christ prays: Make them clean by your true word and keep them for yourself. Your word is true. (paraphrase of Ephesians 5:26; John 17:17)
Christ by His Holy Spirit changes us as we prayerfully meditate on His Holy Scriptures. We teach “Bible in 90 Days” in prison and in church and I am always encouraging people to continue or start a Scripture reading plan. The Holy Spirit uses His word to regenerate us and to generate faith in us. He uses the Scriptures to reawaken and re-balance us, to recapture and reclaim us, to recover, refresh, relieve, and renew us. Recently, I retold a story I heard from my former pastor, Rev. Gerald Vander Hart.
Imagine an old man lived years ago in the Texas Hill Country with his young grandson. Each morning, Poppy sits at the kitchen table and reads his Bible. His grandson, Benjamin, wants to be just like Poppy, so he tries to imitate his grandfather in any way he can.
The Basket Experiment
One day Benjamin asks, “Poppy, I try to read the Bible but I don’t understand it. What I grasp, I forget as soon as I close it. What good does it do?” Grandfather quietly turns from putting coal in the stove and says, “Take this coal basket down to the creek and bring me a basket of water.” Benjamin obeys the order, but all the water leaks out before he gets to the house. Poppy chuckles and says, “You’ll have to move quicker next time,” and asks him to try again. This time the little boy runs faster, but again the basket empties before he gets home. Out of breath, he says, “It’s impossible to carry water in a basket. How about a bucket?” The old man clarifies, “I don’t want a bucket; I want a basket of water. Try again.”
Benjamin knows it’s impossible, but wants to please his grandfather so he tries again and all the water leaks out. Winded, the boy says, “Poppy, it’s useless!” The old man answers, “Useless? Look at the basket.” Benjamin notices for the first time how different the basket looks. Instead of being dirty and dusty from coal, the old basket is clean.
Poppy says, “Son, that’s what happens when we meditate on the Scriptures, with Christ’s help. We may not understand or remember everything, but the Holy Spirit gradually changes us from inside out. Often, without us realizing it, God cleans us from inside and slowly transforms our character and conduct more and more into the likeness of Jesus, His unique Son.”
That’s the Scriptures’ cleansing power. Take time, beloved, to read a portion of God’s word each day, ask the Spirit to change you, and encourage others to do the same by sharing Gerry’s story. Pastor Thomas Brooks says: The Bible is a light to guide you, a counselor to advise you, a comforter to calm you, a staff to support you, a sword to defend you, and a physician to cure you. Jesus’ word is a gold mine to enrich you, a robe to clothe you, and a crown to bless you.
Prayer: Almighty, eternal, and merciful God, your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path, open and illuminate our minds so we may keep on trusting and obeying you. Make us more and more like Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Help us to live a life worthy of Christ, pleasing Him, bearing fruit in every good work. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.