FROM A GUEST BLOGGER
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
“I tried it once [obeying a clear command of Scripture] but I didn’t like the outcome so I decided I would never do that again.”
“If you don’t want to [obey the biblical command to be hospitable] you shouldn’t feel bad about it.”
“Yes, we should tell the truth, but in this context, in this particular set of circumstances, of course you wouldn’t!”
“If you don’t do what’s best for yourself, no one else will.”
“I know the Bible says to do that, but can you imagine the consequences if you actually did it?”
These quotes are all paraphrases of words spoken in my hearing by reformed, bible-believing Christians, all of whom would say they love the Truth. And just in case you think I’m pointing the finger, at least one of them was said by me.
Life has a way of being nuanced and complicated, with grey areas that can make the application of God’s commands less clear cut than we would like. Sometimes we struggle with how to obey God’s Word in a particular circumstance, balancing the requirement to obey and uphold truth with the requirement to love, be patient and show compassion. But sadly, it seems that very often there is no struggle. Our attitudes and words, the advice we give to others and our own thoughts and actions often betray the reality that we are shaped far more by our culture and our own sinful nature than we are by God’s Word. And many times we don’t even seem to notice the huge gap between what we say we believe and how we actually live.
John 8:31 says, “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” I was reminded in a sermon some months ago that we must not confuse nodding of the head in agreement with bowing of the heart in submission. Abiding in God’s Word means obeying it and being governed by it in everything. It means yielding the heart and the will. It means yielding my heart and my will. God’s assessment is that if I am nothing more than an enthusiastic hearer of the Word, I‘m deluding myself.