Even though I grew up in a Christian home, there was a particular time in my mid-twenties when I realized the depth of my sin and surrendered in following Jesus. I call this time of awakening when I became a "Christ-follower" because this marked the beginning of a new life in me. It's probably fairly easy to identify as a "Christian" in our culture--maybe you go to church or maybe you call yourself this because you aren't a Jew or Muslim. But, a "Christ-follower" became my identity when I understood Jesus' work on the Cross in such a way that I could only surrender my efforts and follow Him.
At this time in my life, God gave me an almost-insatiable hunger for His word. The Bible wasn't easy to understand at first, even with a lot of Sunday School classes under my belt. Often I depended heavily upon the commentary at the bottom of my Life-Application Bible. I asked questions, attended studies, read a lot of spiritual growth books...all to better understand God's very word.
As I immersed myself in the Bible, I found my life changing. I used to be easily swayed by others' opinions. Even though it had bothered me, I justified calling myself a Christian yet living like the rest of the world around me. But, as I devoured the Word of God, I began looking and acting different. This stemmed from my understanding that the Bible wasn't full of suggestions, but rather God's commands to me. It also came from a knowing God as I read and read about who He truly is. The absolute truth of God was demolishing my previous misconceptions of Him.
The glorious thing about becoming a woman of the Word is that the good work that God began in me at 25 years old continues! Double that age and you'll have my birthday in 2018. Many in our culture revile old age or find older people to be irrelevant. However, this week, as a friend turned the big 5-0, she shared with me that she received a new Bible for her birthday. Knowing this woman, I understood how much she loved God's word and what a perfect gift this would be for her. She lives in such a way that I would identify her as a "woman of the Word": She stands on the Rock, the Truth, and does not sway because of popular opinion or trials. Her feet are firmly planted in the Bible. She is not straddling the fence of 'one foot in the world and one foot in the Word' as I had been doing all those years ago.
When my friend sent me this photo of her previous Bible, I laughed out loud. Her birthday present was indeed perfectly needed! This photo, though, represents devotion, time, discipline, and a desire to know her Savior deeply. Isn't this such a picture of a woman who has devoured the sweetness of God's words?
As I struggle against turning older, I am confronted with the fact that I am holding onto worldly ideas of age. A woman of the Word understands that gray hair (age) is a crown of glory and it is found in the way of righteousness, that the aged are to be honored, and that with age comes wisdom and understanding.
Truly, what 25 year old could own a Bible like my friend's in the photo above? That kind of wear and tear, that kind of devoted hunger, is only possible after years and years and years of glorious use!
There is a big difference, though, between reading the Word and storing up knowledge upon knowledge versus really knowing the Lord. As Christ-followers, we may be very earnest to be women of the Word. But, we must check our hearts in the process. If we are becoming puffed up, then stop and realize that this is just about storing our heads full of more information. Instead, ask God to make Himself more and more known to you and open yourself up to Him too. This vulnerability, this openness, creates an intimacy that is life-changing. As we know God more, our lives will be different.
Becoming a woman of the Word is a beautiful result of one who loves Jesus so much that she can't get enough of hearing Him talk with her through His word. While this may fluctuate in our lives from time to time, seek to know Him more. Hear His voice, and follow Him all the days of your (hopefully long) life.