The older minister was coaching the younger minister on the ways of ministry. And he said, “Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the task God has for us.” (2 Timothy 3:17 [MSG]).
I believe Paul was teaching young Timothy about the importance of making God’s Word a personal lifestyle.
But here’s the problem- as a busy young pastor there were times when I would allow my sermon preparation time to suffice for my personal intimacy time with the Lord. While it was good that I was in the Word, I was looking for a message for my congregation rather than allowing God to speak to me about my own affairs. Thus it was possible for me to present a great sermon on Sunday morning, even with great results, yet go home feeling personally empty!
One day when God was addressing the problem of false prophets with Jeremiah, he asked Jeremiah this question: “Have any of these prophets been in the Lord’s presence to hear what He is really saying?” (Jeremiah 23:18 NLT). The question kind of hits to the heart of the matter, doesn’t it? The secret to great sermon preparation is obviously spending personal time with the Lord and listening to His word!
That’s not all. God tells Jeremiah, “…let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my very word. There is a difference between straw and grain! Does not my word burn like fire?…Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:28,29 NLT)
The Word of God, like grain, has all the spiritual nutrients a person needs… The Word is so powerful, it burns in a heart like fire… The Word is like a mighty hammer that can smash the hardness of a “rocky heart. No wonder the Psalmist talks so much about meditating on God’s Word constantly and consistently!
Healthy pastors glean daily from God’s word so that they don’t just have a message for the church on Sunday morning, but that message has personally been experienced and put to the test.
Here’s a question… How would my preaching be different if I were to change my personal approach to the Word of God?