Pardon me while I jump on a soapbox for a minute.
In recent weeks, I’ve felt the need to explain one recurring thought I keep having:
“That sounds like something the Bible would say…EXCEPT GOD NEVER SAID THAT.”
I’ve yelled that at people at few times recently.
As in. They couldn’t totally hear me yell at them. But I think the bulging vein in my forehead probably gave it away.
I feel as though it is common Christian-ese* nowadays to say things that sound Biblical – but have no real scriptural roots.
OR that are taken out of context.
OR that are used out of context.
OR that are taken in isolation of everything else the Bible says.
Here has been my problem (and I stand on my soapbox and proclaim this to myself more loudly than I’d try to proclaim it at anyone else):
How can I possibly represent the Lord well, if I can’t even get my facts straight about what His word says? How can I represent the Lord well if I know more Christian catch-phrases than Bible verses? How can I represent the Lord well if I have more Christian song lyrics written on my heart than the living, active word of God?
I’m not saying that Christian songs and catch phrases aren’t great. (Okay well, actually, I am saying most Christian catch-phrases aren’t great. But, whatever.)
What I am saying is that if my primary understanding of the word of God is based on what others have said, or what a song writer has composed, that I am missing a crucial element of knowing my God – and a crucial element in conveying God.
“I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand, from my own eyes and ears!” Job 42: 5
Do we have a firsthand understanding of our Savior? And do we apply that first hand knowledge to every single situation we encounter? Not just the rumors or the catch-prases, but the living, active word of God?
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Are we using the word of God that way? Are we using it to discern? To guide? To instruct? To decide?
Are we using it to make our viewpoints? Or just to back them up?
I taught the tiny humans at church yesterday. We talked about Jeremiah, Baruch and King Joachim. Which, besides being names they couldn’t pronounce, was a story about obeying the word of God – and that understanding and knowing the word of God was crucial if they were going to obey it.
At the end of the lesson, all the tiny humans said this verse over and over in unison:
“I will obey Your word.” Psalm 119:17
We can’t obey His word if we don’t know His word.
On Friday I am talking to a group of young women all about Eve, and the point of the story that I can’t get past right now is this line from the Serpent:
Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? Genesis 3:1
That line scares the shenanigans out of me primarily for this reason: The serpent knew that Eve did not have a good enough understanding of the Lord had said to be able to hold her own against him.
And he was right. Because in her response she misquotes God, saying he told her not to eat OR touch the fruit. (Genesis 3:3 and Genesis 2:16&17)
I think that should worry us. If one of the first lessons in the Bible is the fact that Satan trips up Eve using her understand of the Word of the Lord – I think that means we need to get our facts straight.
And by facts, I mean scripture.
So Friday when I talk with these young women the verse we are going to go over and over and over is Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
I have hidden Your word in my heart so that I might not be flustered by questions like, “Did God really say that?”
I have hidden Your word in my heart so that I can say with confidence, “That sounds sweet, except the Bible doesn’t say that.”
I have hidden Your word in my heart so I can represent the You to the best of my ability the way You are represented in Your word.
I could go on and on, because the Lord has gone on and on about this in my life…But I’ll wrap it up by saying with this: we can’t obey the word of God, unless we know the word of God.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. Psalm 19:7-9
Lots of love,
*”Christian-ese” is slang for words and phrases that Christians use (aka over-use) that the rest of the world either doesn’t understand, or that makes us sound pretentious.