On a Need-to-Know Basis

John 16:12
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”

Have you ever read a book that had so much information that when you read it again you saw things that you previously didn’t see? That is exactly what the Word of God will do for the believer if they will continue to read it daily. There have been scores of times when the Holy Spirit pointed out a truth from His Word that I had never seen before, even though I had read that verse hundreds of times.

Jesus told His disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” He told them that one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit was to “guide” them “into all truth.” In other words, the Holy Spirit would show them what they needed to know on a need-to-know basis. Likewise, the Holy Spirit will do the same with you if you will continue to read His Word. Several thoughts from this verse can help you concerning the importance of continually reading God’s Word.

First, there is more in God’s Word than you will ever discover. God’s Word is like a treasure: the more that you dig, the more you will discover. I remember when I was a young preacher, I would worry about what I would do when I had preached the whole Word of God. Now, as a preacher who has preached thousands of sermons and read the Word of God scores of times, I now seek the mind of God to teach and preach exactly which truth His people need. I have learned over the years that no matter how many times I read God’s Word, there is still more to learn if I will continue to read and study His Word.

Second, God will give you what you need on a need-to-know basis. God says in the verse above that He has many things to say, “…but ye cannot bear them now.” In other words, God is saying that He will teach you what you need to know when you are capable of taking it. God knows that there are some things you are not strong enough to take right now, so He only gives you what you need for today, and He will give you what you need for tomorrow when you can bear it. You are simply going to have to trust that He will give you what you need at the time you need it.

Third, don’t worry about what you need to know tomorrow. God’s promises are always true. Just like God fulfills every promise in other areas of your life, He will be sure that you have the needed truths for tomorrow when tomorrow comes. In other words, God is simply trying to get the Christian to trust Him and step out in faith and believe that He will give them the truths needed when the time comes that they need it. Understanding God’s Word is as much an act of faith as it is to step out to do His will. Many Christians are waiting for God to give them all the truths now, but they don’t need that information right now. If they will act in faith and trust that God will give them His truths on a need-to-know basis, they will find that He will never fail to give them truth, and that He will be able to perform great works through them.

Fourth, you will never know the need-to-know truths without yielding to the Holy Spirit. Verse 13 makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is the One Who will “guide you into all truth.” Christian, before you ever open the Word of God, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you read His Word. You will find that the Holy Spirit will open your understanding to what you need for today if you will just yield to Him.

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