The tool for change: Scripture applied by the Spirit
Change takes place in our lives only when the power of the Holy Spirit and scriptural truth are together operating on our hearts. They help to expose our sin at both the behavioural and the motivational level. They also offer us encouragement and promises which we can use and depend upon in our battle to live faithfully. Therefore, if we are to see people’s character transformed (including our own), we will both pray for them and bring the Scriptures to bear on their lives. We will learn how to understand the Scriptures and to apply them effectively. Unless we expose our communities to the Bible and use it on our hearts to search us out, we will not see life-change taking place.
Paul tells us that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16). For centuries, Christians have believed that the Bible is sufficient to address our real questions, needs, concerns and problems. In the Scriptures God tells us all we need to know to live a full and effective life. They “enlighten us about God, about ourselves, about good and evil, true and false, grace and judgement, and about the world that surrounds us with its many forms of suffering and beguilement.”
Therefore it is perilous to ignore the Bible’s diagnosis and prescription for our condition. It is equally perilous to substitute alternative understandings of and cures for what is wrong with us. When we turn to the Scriptures, with their penetrating insight into this world, we find in their pages the wisdom necessary to understand our lives and our problems in all their complexity.