Until a few years ago, I generally dismissed the idea of naming a Bible verse as my favorite. I knew a lot of people had one. I just didn’t. But then one of the pastors I admire the most got me to embrace the concept. Bill Hybels, longtime pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, convinced me that a “living worm,” as he calls it, is a powerful and clarifying tool when it comes to streamlining our ways. lives.
Simply put, a Life Verse is a short passage from the Bible that serves as a rallying cry to guide and focus your life. The verse can be for a specific season or even your entire life. For Hybels, this verse of life is I Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, stand firm. Don’t let anything move you. not in vain. ”The verse is the beacon to help Hybels travel through the seas of life.
Billy Graham once chose Psalm 16:11 for a season of his life: “You make known to me the way of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with everlasting pleasures on your right hand. “
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. claimed Amos 5:24 as his verse. It certainly matched his God-ordained passion to right the wrongs of pre-civil America: “Let justice roll like a river, justice like a stream that never fails!” “
My father called Philippians 4:13 the verse that gave him the most strength: “I can do anything through him who gives me strength.” When things were wrong with daddy, he would reflect on this verse as he tried to decide what to do.
So a verse from life can help you simplify what matters most. It establishes that for each of us there is a purpose for our one and only life, a life that reflects the particular direction of God in our life.
When I felt God start slapping me on the shoulder decades ago, I discovered that one of my main assignments was to do whatever I could to encourage people to never give up hope. . This would be done by listening, showing empathy, and encouraging people to hold on.
So for many years now my passage of life has come from the famous parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. In the parable the lost son breathes the inheritance that his father gave him. As his life goes by, the son suddenly comes to his senses.
The words that the desperate son repeats to himself are the words that I adopted as the verse of my life: no longer worthy to be called your son, make me like one of your hirelings. So he got up and went to his father. “
The father is delighted when the son comes home and shows him amazing mercy. You have now guessed correctly that each day I seek, account for, and give thanks for God’s mercy in my life and in the lives of those with whom I interact. Because this verse from life brings me both comfort and focus, I look for ways to express this kind of mercy and hope to others.
Bill Hybels says, “Having a life worm is one of the most powerful tools I know of to make your life easier. Like a beacon in the dark, it keeps you on track. … It motivates you to ruthlessly reduce the waste in your life. It prompts you to live each day with fervor and passion. “
If you have a verse from life, memorize it. Put it in places where you will see it. What does this verse ask you to do today because you have planted it in your heart? What bases in your life is God asking you to change?
If you don’t have a life verse, think of something you have read in the Bible that best reflects your story and your personality. Is there a verse that resonates with you that calls you to action? Does this give you hope? Is it short and sweet?
I’ll prime the pump for you. You might consider the oft-cited verses about trusting in God from Proverbs 3: 5-6. How about a line or two from King David’s overhead poem of deep repentance found in Psalm 51? Maybe part of the Apostle Paul’s big prayer for others in Ephesians 3: 14-19 is for you, or maybe part of the famous 23rd Psalm.
There are no hard and fast rules about this, of course, and you can change the verses at any time. I just think it might be worth finding a verse that works best for you. Then let this verse sink deep so you can recall it over and over as you journey through the ups and downs of life.
Don Follis has been a pastor in Champaign-Urbana for 35 years. He runs retreats and coaches leaders through blog.pastortopastorinitiatives.com. Contact him at [email protected], and you can follow him on Twitter at @donfollis.