What Bible Passage Do You Treasure Most? – The Gospel Coalition

The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Jason Cook: Yeah, for me, it would be 1 Corinthians 1:18. I was at a season in college when I was trying to figure out what it meant to walk with Jesus at an FCA retreat, and the preacher comes in and preaches 1 Corinthians 1:18, which says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are believing it is the power of God.”

At a time when I was trying to figure out what it meant to really faithfully walk with Jesus as an athlete in a secular institution, it just kind of hit me that, man, people are blind, and they’re blind to see the goodness of Jesus. They’re also dead, and so it’s going to be foolishness to them. I think that day, it kind of gave me courage to know that no matter what I do to try to “fit in,” I won’t ever really fully fit in because if you’ve not had your eyes opened by the Gospel, and really by the Spirit’s work, then this is all foolishness and folly.

Crawford Loritts: Yeah. As you’re talking, man, I’m just struck with the realization it’s amazing how a verse will intercept us at a certain point in our journey, which makes it profoundly meaningful. That’s what I’m getting from you.

This is a hard question for me to answer because there are a number of verses at certain points in my life that have been dear to me. As you were speaking, I was thinking of times when I was going through a hard time or God was redirecting me and there would be something that He would drop in my heart. But I have to tell you probably over the last, well, most of my life it’s been Joshua 1:8.

Jason Cook: That’s a good one, dog.

Crawford Loritts: Yeah. Well, it’s captured me. I suppose I got first introduced to the verse way back in Bible college, and it’s so gripped my heart. It’s the only place in the Bible where success is descriptively defined. “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate therein day and night that you may observe to do all that is written therein.” It’s interesting, he didn’t say, “Then I, God, is speaking.” He said, no, no, success or failure is in your hands, then you will have good success. “Then you will make your way prosperous and have good success,” meaning your success is in direct proportion or in direct relationship to your commitment to the truth of God’s Word.

That was a verse that, when my kids were born, the very first words they heard me speak to them. Before I say, “Oh, you’re cute” and all that, was Joshua 1:8. And our 11 grandkids, the first words they’ve ever heard me speak to them was Joshua 1:8. I could get preachy on this one.

Jason Cook: Please do.

Crawford Loritts: One of my abiding concerns about Christians these days, and I’m a pastor, is we’re getting very pedestrian about the Scriptures, some of us. The Bible is viewed as a point of reference rather than the context of our lives, and that’s the reason why we’re so shallow. We’ll go get between a rock and a hard place, and then do a little foray back to the Scriptures and grab a Bible verse to help us right there. But we’ve got to make a decision that the Bible is going to be my life. God reminds me of that whenever I read Joshua 1:8, and Psalm 1 as well.

Jason Cook: Yeah. Man, that’s good. Even as you talk, there’s so much. I’m two generations behind you, and there are a lot of men-

Crawford Loritts: That makes me feel so old, man.

Jason Cook: Well, I’m looking at you, and I’m just honored to be at the table. There’s a lot of faithfulness.

Crawford Loritts: Yeah. Well, that’s the nice way of putting it, a euphemism for old as dirt, but I get you, man.

Jason Cook: But I do think there are a lot of young men my age who are pastoring and preaching who have lost, in some sense, the belief in the sufficiency of God’s Word, in an attempt to become culturally relevant or more effective in communicating to a younger generation.

Crawford Loritts: That’s a profound insight, because I actually think it’s not so much that they’ve consciously lost confidence in the sufficiency of God’s Word. I think unwittingly they have more confidence in their competencies than they do in God’s Word.

Jason Cook: Say that.

Crawford Loritts: And the gifting and talents, we’ve elevated above the transforming power of the Scriptures. I think that that’s the reason why so many younger guys burn out and we get to this place, because we think that the craft and how I do what I do and the gifts that I have will carry the water. Well, any old bush will do. It’s our dependence upon the Lord, it’s giving ourselves to this book, that’s going to carry the water.

Now, I’m not saying gifts aren’t important. They are important. Faithfulness is important, but your gift is not a statement of your identity. It’s only what God uses. My statement of my identity is Jesus and living and abiding in this book.

Jason Cook: Amen. As you were talking, I was thinking back to First Corinthians 1:18, and Paul would later go on to say this, that the power of his preaching is not in his eloquence. It’s not in how he can string together sentences and illustrations. His power is actually in his weakness, and it’s in the dependence and the power of God to do the work in that sense. Again, not that faithfulness or, excuse me, gifting doesn’t matter, but man, a true trust in the sufficiency of Scripture, the power of God in the text, that’s one of the things that impacted me and intersected with me that day that still sticks with me.

Crawford Loritts: That’s great. The whole idea is letting God use your gift, but not having the gift own you, letting God own you, letting the Word capture your affections, and your character always has to be greater than your abilities. if we get to that place where we’re more passionate about becoming Christ’s likeness, becoming like Christ, then our character will eclipse our gifts, and that’s where we’re maximally effective anyway.

Jason Cook: That’s good.

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