Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer has been married for twenty-three years to her high school sweetheart, Paul. She is the mother of three children, Paul IV (22), Samuel (6), and Grace (6). She also has six babies residing in heaven. It is those six tiny souls who have propelled her into women’s ministry. She is a conference speaker and author of the book Nothing to Hold but Hope (one woman's journey through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility). Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.
A little more than a month ago, I returned home from a week long trip with my husband. I remember dreading the job of unpacking my suitcase, because I knew it meant laundry and putting away fun, summer clothing and flip-flops only to exchange them with over-sized sweaters and boots. Unpacking inside a beautiful hotel room is way more fun than unpacking inside the laundry room when it’s all over.
Yesterday, I wrapped up a four week speaking engagement with a wonderful group of women. As I’ve prepared each teaching, I’ve been thinking about what it means to “unpack” and how it might relate to reading the word of God.
I’m a firm believer that if we are going to fight battles of this world then we must engage the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We need to insert ourselves in scripture and read it in such a way that it becomes a love letter from God to us. As we fuel ourselves with the word it becomes a mighty weapon against sin, fear, and anything else trying to hold us back from living the lives God ordained for us.
In my mind, I picture someone surprising me with a dream vacation. They hand me a first class ticket, designer suitcase, and send me on my way. When I arrive at my destination, I begin unpacking the items one-by-one. Each article is exactly my style, tailored to fit, and more exquisite than I imagined possible. Friend, that’s what reading the Bible should be like.
We should place ourselves in the history, “unpacking” each person, their real-life struggles, and wisdom. After that, we need to put on what’s in the suitcase knowing every fine piece is a gift from the King.
I’ve had a burden on my heart for those struggling through desperate situations without any weaponry to help fight the battle. The word of God gives us what we need to stay strong, stand upright, and live purposefully. However, if we refuse to “unpack” and choose to read the Bible like we’re in a “laundry room” only seeing it as a job through eyes of obligation and boredom, then we will miss out on what it really is: a living, powerful book meant to set hearts aflame while equipping us with the same spirit as Christ. If we don’t ever unpack the word of God for ourselves, then how will we ever know who God really is?
I might be going out on a limb by saying this, but It’s my opinion that a large portion of the Jesus community tends to only open their Bibles in church. In fact, because of technology, I think we read sermon notes and scriptures on big screens more than we open our Bibles in the pew.
After burying my baby girl, I was a young twenty-something crying to God at the altar when someone asked me, “What scripture are you standing on?” At the time my first thought was, “All of them.” The truth: I was having a really difficult time warring against the depression and grief that wanted to take me down because I wasn’t equipping myself with weaponry for the battle. That moment was a turning point for me, and if you’re facing something without “unpacking” the word of God for yourself, then I pray that maybe today will be a turning point for you.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints
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