Monday, August 6, 2012

You are What You Think - 1

The topic of what it means when we say the Bible is the word of God sounds really boring and irrelevant. But it’s not. It’s actually the most important tenant of Christianity. If you don’t believe the Bible is in fact a real and valid witness to God and his action in the world, then any other Christian ‘belief’ falls by the wayside because the Bible is the primary witness to God’s love and work in the world on our behalf. If you do not believe it to be true, how can you believe any other part of Christianity?

The belief that the Bible is true should influence everything that a believer says and does. Believing that we are under the authority of Scripture (meaning that it is the guide that directs our lives once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior) sets us apart from non-believers. When, as Christians, we begin to pick and choose the parts of scripture that are easy for us to follow and reject those parts that cause us to be conscious of our sin, the differences that set believers apart from non-believers begin to blur. 

As Christians we are to be filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)  These, as you will probably notice, are not things that the world is filled with. We don’t just start exhibiting these traits once we become Christians. It takes discipline and hard work to cultivate these characteristics. (Every time I recite that list I always leave out at least one – usually the one(s) I am currently struggling with the most. Today, for your information, it was gentleness!)

One of the main ways we do the hard work of cultivating the fruit of the Spirit is by immersing ourselves in the word of God – the Scriptures that we agree to be under the authority of when we become Christians.

I know that I am not always a daily reader of Scripture so I know that for most people, it is probably also difficult. We are so busy with everything else that needs to get done on our ‘to do’ list that God often gets shoved to the back burner because we know he will always be there waiting for us.

We need to read Scripture though. We need to read Scripture alone and with our spouse, our families, with our kids even after they outgrow the Rhyme Bible and move on to the latest offerings of pop-culture because it reminds us who we are in Christ. It reminds us that once we accept Jesus we are people who are in the world but not of it, “…a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:8-9)

We need to read Scripture because it is the story of God’s love for us and how he has worked in his creation to redeem us even though we reject(ed) him. We need to read Scripture because we have agreed to live according to its dictates and if we don’t read it, it is easy to forget that we are ambassadors for the one we call “Lord”.

Chesney Szaniszlo

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  - Timothy 3:16-17