Several summers ago at Beulah Camp, I heard Bob Phillips preach a sermon where he said, “I’m not really sure what I think about having a ‘life verse’ but if I had one, it would be Acts 20:24.” He went on the read the verse and while he read it, something inside me said, “You know what, I’m not sure what I think about life verses either, but if anyone asks me what mine is, it has just become Acts 20:24.”
That message had an impact on me. I have printed that verse on Harvest T-shirts, I have used it during messages and have had it memorized since that day.
I recently read a book called Simplify by Bill Hybels. In the book, Bill describes the power of having a life verse. The Bible is very honest as it describes what brings us life. It puts life in perspective – our time on earth is short. Focusing in and living with a scripture in our hearts helps us keep an eternal perspective.
Since reading Simplify, I’ve had a new thought in the back of my mind… it’s good to have a life verse. The verse may change from season to season, but it helps us memorize and live with a short verse that keeps us moving forward in faith and in ministry.
Here are three things a life verse helps you do:
1. Speak of your faith more clearly.
A life verse allows you to articulate your faith to those around you. Your family, friends, coworkers and church benefit from the clarity in your life that comes with a life verse. It may seem overwhelming to bring up lots of scripture in a conversation, but a simple life verse opens the door. Your faith becomes more clear as you share your life (and life verse) with others.
2. Speak of your faith more often.
A life verse comes to mind on a regular basis. What is your mission? What is your goal? Why is your hope in the Lord? When trials come, you have something to lean on – God’s Word, not only tucked away in your heart, but right on the tip of your tongue and the forefront of your mind.
3. Speak of your faith more confidently.
A life verse gives confidence to live out your call. Your life is being shaped by the story your tell yourself. Too often, with far too many folks, the story in our hearts and heads is one of low confidence. Allow powerful scripture to become your story – let it shape your confidence.
In Bill Hybel’s book, he catalogued a list of possible life verses. Here are a few of them:
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
Romans 8: 38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will reward them for what they have done.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Do you have a life verse? What is it? I would love to hear it.
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