"A FANATICAL PASSION"
RANDALL J. BREWER
Nobody has more faith than another. We all have the same amount of faith the same way we all have the same amount of muscles. Faith has no limits but like the body builder with his muscles it too must be exercised and developed. Great faith is developed faith and what you do with the measure of faith you receive at the new birth (Rom. 12:3) will determine it's ability and activity in your life. We are given in 2 Peter 1:5 a divine order in which to pursue and develop great faith, "But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge." Virtue, or moral excellence, must be added to your measure of faith in order for it to grow and develop. This means that when you get born-again you must with all diligence make a conscious effort to get rid of all habitual sin from your life. At the same time and with the same diligence you must also strive to obtain a thorough knowledge of God's Word. This is so vitally important and necessary because we need knowledge of the Word so our faith will know what to believe and confess. For example, how will we know that we can believe for physical healing and divine health unless we first know that "by His stripes you were healed" (1 Peter 2:24)?
It is a sad but undeniable truth that the majority of believers in the body of Christ are not living in the fullness of all that God has for them because of a lack of knowledge pertaining to His Word. God said through the prophet Hosea, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hos. 4:6). Notice this verse does not say that a lack of knowledge will cause you to have a little inconvenience in life. No, it says you will be destroyed! Period! A lack of knowledge is more than simply the result of neglect but in the eyes of God is considered to be a criminal action. This is true because when you reject the knowledge of the Word you are in fact rejecting God because they are both one and the same (John 1:1). We need to seriously think about these words from the book of Isaiah, "Therefore My people have gone into captivity because they have no knowledge; Their honorable men are famished and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself and opened it's mouth beyond measure" (Is. 5:13,14a). This is what it means to be destroyed for a lack of knowledge. This only happens because most people are not willing to make the same sacrifices to increase their know-ledge of God's Word as the body builder makes to develop and increase the size of his muscles.
Jesus once told a parable about a man who had a fanatical passion for the Word of God and was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. He said "the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for the joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys the field" (Matt. 13:44). This verse reveals the diligence it takes to get the Word planted within you. Because the Word and the joy It brings was first place in this man's life he went and sold all that he had in order to obtain It. Nothing should come between you and the time you spend in the Word. Notice also that the treasure is buried in the field. People who do not study the Word but only skim over it maybe once in a week are only looking at the surface of the field. The richest mines are often in grounds that appear most barren. Prov. 15:28a says, "The heart of the righteous studies how to answer…" The word "study" means 'to apply the mind in acquiring knowledge, to examine and search into, to memorize, to follow a regular course of instruction.' In trustingly, the Greek word for "study" means 'to make an effort, to labor.' Know for certain that time and effort will be required in order to obtain the true riches that are buried in God's Word. You'll get out of It what you put into It. God and His blessings must be sought after in order to be found. Therefore don't just read the Word, study It!
Prov. 4:20-22 says, "My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them and health to all their flesh." Notice that the Words of God are life to those who "find" them. You find the Words of God by seeking them out in a consistent and diligent study of the holy scriptures. Ps. 119:2 tells us, "Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!" God gave His all to us in the Person of Jesus Christ and it is now our responsibility, our obligation, and our privilege to give our all to Him. We cannot seek God half heartedly and expect to receive in return all the blessings that He has prepared for us. No, the verse says to seek Him with our "whole" heart and when we diligently do that we will develop within ourselves a deep, fanatical passion for God and His Word.
Prov. 2:1,4,5 says, "My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my command within you, if you seek her as silver and search for her as hidden treasure; then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." You will never experience an increase to your faith until you develop a strong passion for God's Word. The word "passion is defined as 'intense, extreme, ardent, affection for, strong desire, fanaticism.' The reason so many Christians are not enjoying God's best is simply because they have not become fanatical for the uncompromised Word of God. This is so vital because "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17).
Luke 10:28-42 tells the story about a young woman who had a fanatical passion for God's Word. These verses tell about a time of refreshing Jesus spent in Bethany at the home of Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. This was not a home where Jesus was treated as a stranger but rather as a member of the family. It seems that Martha was the owner of the house and being the older sister was the dominate figure as well. While Martha busied herself with the distracting details of serving her guests, Mary instead chose to sit at the feet of Jesus in the recognized posture of a disciple and listened to every precious word that her Lord had to say. She had a passion for the Word and her actions depict the attitude of an eager learner not wanting one morsel of truth spoken from the mouth of Jesus to slip past her. Troubled by her sister's reluctance to help with the serving, Martha was filled with an inward anxiety thus creating an outward response. Without thinking she boldly and bluntly confronted Jesus and said, "'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.' And Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.'"
Notice that worry and trouble always go together and that you can never worry about just one thing. It was not Martha's service that Jesus rebuked. Her preoccupation with the preparation of an elaborate meal for Jesus and His disciples was a praise worthy desire born out of a deep regard for her honored guest. What Jesus rebuked was her over occupation with the material side of her duties which caused her to have anxiety and a nervous distraction which eventually led to her jealous outburst of temper. Jesus continued, "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part which will not be taken from her." The lesson that is being taught here is that to be occupied "with" Jesus is more important than being occupied "for" Jesus. To devote oneself to the Word of God is more important than to be busy for Him. Jesus said that one good thing was needed. Not two, one! And that good thing is to receive His words and to treasure them in the deepest caverns of your heart.
To be led by the Word of God is the only guarantee we'll ever have for a prosperous and victorious life. The writer of Ps. 119 got hold of this message when he penned these words, "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (vs. 105). The pursuit of faith is a result of having a hunger and thirst for the Word of God. Prov. 4:5,6 says, "Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her and she will preserve you; Love her and she will keep you." Ps. 63:1 describes a thirst David had for God when he was in the wilderness of Judah, "Oh God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water." He goes on to say, "When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches" (vs. 6). Ps. 119:97 reveals the attitude of the heart which we should all strive to obtain. "Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day." How often should we study and meditate on God's Word? Early in the day! Late in the evening! In the middle of the night! All day long! What else would you expect from a person who had a fanatical passion for God and His Word?
RANDALL J. BREWER