What to Keep


Article by James MacDonald, Walk in the Word

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word” (John 17:6, esv).

Could life really be as simple as keeping His Word?

Sometimes when our spiritual life doesn’t seem to be moving fast enough for us, when it’s not going in the direction we want it to go, we can end up trying too hard to make it work. We can start exploring other options besides the simple faith of just keeping His Word.

You’ll recognize when this is happening. Times when you’re feeling tired and spent more than peaceful and contented. Times when you’re losing joy over one thing God hasn’t done for you yet, rather than rejoicing in all the awesome things He’s already accomplished. Times when your praying is characterized more by telling God how He should fix this situation than by believing He’s fully aware of what your need is.

But when Jesus transitioned from praying for Himself in verses 1–5 of what’s commonly called His “high priestly prayer” (John 17), into praying for His disciples in verse 6, He characterized them to the Father by saying, “They have kept your word.”

What a great summary of what Christians do! We keep His Word. It’s what we as His followers are called to do.

Simple, right?

But is it really what we do? If Jesus was giving a general accounting to the Father today of your life and mine, would His report include what He said about His first disciples? Does this same basic requirement and privilege—steadfastly keeping His Word—accurately describe how you choose to respond to your daily challenges, questions, temptations, and responsibilities?

You’ll know God’s Word is the authority in your life when it can stop you in your tracks. You’ll know you’re someone who keeps His Word when, instead of heading down whatever mindless path your emotions or traditions are taking you, the Spirit of God can suddenly remind you of Scripture. And as soon as you hear it, the truth of that Word causes you to reverse direction and do something other than what you were heading toward doing.

If God’s Word does not have this effect on you, you need to ask yourself what role it really plays in your life.

If you love studying it but don’t do what it says, the Bible is only affection for you.

If you love having it around the house and on the coffee table for all to see but you don’t do what it says, the Bible is only a decoration for you.

If you believe you’re advancing God’s purposes by hearing the Word taught and proclaimed at church but you have no real intention of getting up from your seat to go do what it says, the Bible is actually a deception for you. “Be doers of the word,” James said, “and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).

Hear Jesus’ prayer to the Father again: “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.”

May He always be able to say the same of us.

Eat the Word?

(by James MacDonald – Walk in the Word)


Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. —Jeremiah 15:16 The last time you had a Bible in your hands, how did you handle it? Did you casually flip it open to a suggested passage or quickly fan the pages using the headings as your guide? Maybe you had to check the table of contents—or perhaps the truth is, you held the Bible but didn’t open it.Whatever your story, do you know how to find the joy and delight promised us in Scripture? Jeremiah’s testimony can help you move from treating the Bible as just another book, to treasuring it for what it is—God’s Word. What was his approach to the Scriptures? Jeremiah said, “I ate them.”In Jeremiah’s day, God’s Word was handwritten on leather scrolls and painstakingly copied. In times of spiritual decline these scrolls were sometimes misplaced. When Jeremiah wrote, “Your words were found,” he was probably remembering the incident during King Josiah’s reign when the lost books of Moses were discovered in the neglected Temple in Jerusalem (2 Kings 22). It’s easy to wonder, How could people actually misplace the Scriptures? The more important question is, Where is your Bible right now?
An open Bible is a meal spread before you. On every page there is nourishment prepared and provided by God for you. Do you want God’s Word to become a joy and delight in your heart? Have you discovered for yourself how it can satisfy your deepest hunger? Here are some steps that will help you get increasingly more from Scripture.Discipline yourself to get into God’s Word. It may feel like you’re working out on a treadmill. In the beginning, it will take getting up earlier or altering your schedule in some way. You will have to consciously decide to open and read God’s Word attentively. Stay at it for at least thirty days. At this point, the benefits won’t always be obvious. You will mostly be aware that you are making a deliberate effort.You will know discipline is working when it gives way to desire. God is honoring your willingness to get into His Word daily. You will find yourself increasingly longing for Scripture (Psalm 42:1). If you miss a day, you will notice and wonder how you lived without it. Expect at least another thirty days in this phase. You will discover firsthand the impact of regular time in God’s Word.  Beyond discipline and desire you will find delight. Jeremiah 15:16 will become your own experience. When you begin to delight in God’s Word, the time spent in Scripture will be the best part of your days. And the effects will seep into every part of your life as you find His truth running continually in the background of your thoughts.  Discipline, desire, and delight could be less than 60 days away for you. These are choices you can make and steps you can take that God will use to change your life. And they never need to end—the longer you walk with Jesus Christ, the more you will find Him leading you through these stages in your lifetime, as He takes you deeper into His Word and all He has for you.