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Shaped by Scripture: Tim Davis

1.5. 2018 Written By: Tim Davis

Tim Davis is Pastor of Peace Mennonite Community Church, Aurora Colorado. He is pictured here with his wife, Charlene. 

“In the beginning…“ I was found. Lost and wandering aimlessly, I heard the words, familiar to many, that “Jesus loved me” (Rev. 1:5). Those words had trampolined off my ears in years foregone and for some reason this time they sank deep into the soil of my soul.

I picked up the sacred book and read for the first time: “In the beginning…God”(Gen. 1:1). Shekinah glory dawned. I could know. I could know who I was. I could know who God is, was and ever shall be. “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). I could know the source and Creator of all (Gen. 1:1ff). I could grasp the wisdom of it all, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10). Life was not troubling chaos, a paint splattered canvas as I had perceived and lived it.

I read those horrible, wonderful words, “He will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).  My mind was wrenched, my soul relieved. Transformation began (John 17:17), difficult choices followed. Friends changed, church doors opened, questions flooded my psyche. New brothers and sisters (Mark 3:35), people with a love for the Scripture and its God (2 Tim. 3:16) became supports for my infantile faith. For every answer I found, there were two more questions. I devoured texts of Scripture as a starving man devours bread, for this truly was the bread of life (Matt. 4:4). The life I had pretended to live was nothing more than being adrift with no rudder or sail, a sheep without a shepherd (Luke 15:4). I rejoiced I had found the Shepherd. I found that He had found me (Rom. 1:7).

The Word transformed my thinking. I prayed. Scripture was alive, active, sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12). If I were to continue reading this profound and holy tome, I was going to have to deal with the most illusive of thoughts, the very hidden motives that drove my behaviors. No longer could I be a mere projection of what I wanted people to think of me. I had to choose goodness to the core of my being, to the parts of me that no one but the Holy Spirit could see (Romans 2:16). I knew that to become a disciple of this profound Christ, I had to choose the heart of Christ in truth (John 8:32). Truth was painful, for my centered-self loved the praise of other humans rather than the praise of God (Romans 2:29). This transformation of thinking, this sanctification of soul (John 17:19) righted my helter-skelter world. And the truth of it became self-evident (John 8:32).

In point of fact, all the historic apologetics, the proofs, though helpful, only convinced my mind. It was the living of it that convinced my heart and soul.

Having studied human behavior and theories of psychology and sociology, I became convinced that humankind’s greatest need was not the counselor’s couch nor the pharmacist’s prescriptions. Faith, trust in our Maker, calmed my fears (Hebrews 11:1ff) and assured my mind of things not seen and yet more solid than the ground beneath me. My soul discovered something I could count on at every turn, someone who would never betray me.

Heaven and earth would pass away, but the foundation of His Word would never pass away (Isaiah 40:7-8). It was established to be the rock upon which my soul would stand (1 Sam. 2:2).

The Scripture called for wisdom and insight and its authors made me a student of all creation. I studied the sciences, seeing in them a wonder and magnificence indescribable. Astronomy declared an infinite glory and power (Psalm 19) beyond human comprehension. I could only gaze skyward with awe in worship of a designer of infinite power.  This study of every aspect of the world as I experienced it only confirmed the reality of a mind, an immeasurable mind (Isaiah 55:9). The Omniscient One works in every aspect of life to bring about an ultimate purpose in my life and throughout the world that is good, good, good beyond human understanding (Romans 8:28). This beneficence transcends the foibles of humanity with its seeking of self-glory and love for sensual pleasure, to a goodness that is born of love, defined not merely by ease of life. For Christ in his agape love demonstrated that love is long-suffering, holy and good (1 Cor. 13). We have seen and beheld his glory (John 1:14).

How has the Scripture transformed and moved me? How has the Christ of Scripture, the only begotten of the Father, formed me from above through holy writ? How is darkness inferior to light (John 8:12)? What is dreadful death compared to eternal life (John 17:3)? How do the words of mortals compare to the Words of God (John 8:47)?
Suffer me to say, how has it not changed me?

In Him was…no, not was. In Him is life. And the light shines in our darkness through history as Scripture recorded for our sakes, and the darkness has not comprehended it (John 1:5).

 

Read more reflections on being shaped by Scripture in the October 2017 issue of The Mennonite magazine. And for more original features and reflections, subscribe

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