I read an article yesterday on one of the mainstream news online websites and I have to say that I felt sad and to be honest, a little embarrassed for the author of the piece! This individual was writing in disagreement to something that many well-known Christian leaders including Franklin Graham have stated concerning what many of us see as a special call or even ‘anointing’ for Donald Trump and his administration.
The author began his article by establishing his credentials declaring that he has been an ordained minister with one of the mainline Christian denominations for many decades. He then went on to state how these other ministers were totally incorrect in their declarations and wrote of his thoughts and experiences on the matter while inserting some scriptures to defend his point of view.
What immediately caught my attention was that he completely ignored the multitude of scriptures in the Bible that clearly legitimize the reasoning behind the opposing minister’s publicized statements. He tended to base the majority of his article on personal experiences backed by a socially correct, natural and thereby powerless (and in reality, incomplete and/or inaccurate) interpretation of God’s Word. I can’t say that I was offended by the article, but it definitely caused me to stop and think about its significance to the impact of the Gospel message that we are told to take to the far reaches of the globe.
I was reminded of the article later on in the day, as I was reading from a book on faith to my wife. In talking about the significance of the Word of God in the life of the believer, the writer of the book quoted from Matthew 4:4 concerning Jesus’ response to the temptation of the devil in the wilderness of Judea after His baptism. Without a second thought Jesus immediately replied to the devil’s comments, declaring “…It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (KJV)
The moment I read that verse I thought back to a similar and familiar verse I’ve been studying and writing about in John 6:63 where Jesus helped His disciples through some confusion by stating: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (KJV) It is pretty evident to me that in both of these verses, and many others like them, that Jesus is pointing out the importance of His Word in the lives of His followers… like you and me!
Then as I studied these verses along with Psalm 1:1-5 this morning, it dawned on me that our knowledge of, trust in and actions based on the Word of God is what sets us apart from others in this world. But again, it cannot be just a head knowledge that never allows us to explore beyond the confines of our own limited human understanding, but one that is growing in an intimate, personal and experiential knowing of God’s agape love for each of us individually!
According to another familiar scripture found in Ephesians 3:19, the Apostle Paul declared that this kind of knowledge of God’s love is what sets us free from the limits of our own understanding and enables us to go way beyond any natural knowledge while opening wide the doors so that we can be completely filled with God. Now if that kind of lifestyle doesn’t separate us from the rest of the world… than I think nothing will!
So yes… I was shaken a little by all this… but it caused me to REALLY take a look inside and see if my interpretation of the Word is limited by what is socially acceptable around me or is it based on what God’s Word says? When people see me and the life I live, do they see what they see in everyone else, or do they see something a little (or hopefully A LOT) different from the world’s standard operating procedure? Do my words and subsequent actions portray a Gospel message that fits right in with what I see happening around me or read in the newspaper or online news sites, or is it a dramatically different message that encourages, gives hope to the hopeless and joy to the brokenhearted?
Jesus used to amaze the folks He spoke to when He walked this earth (See: Matthew 7:28, 8:27, 9:23, 12:23… and a whole bunch more!). Can I say the same thing about my life? How about you? Remember it is called “The Good News” for a reason! I want to get this right… don’t you?
Have a great weekend, and as you do keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting my life to portray today?”