Holy Scripture or Reference Material?

I am going to be totally honest about today’s post. It was a big point of conviction for me and it happened at the London Heathrow airport, on the ground, in terminal 3, right outside gate 11. I am not going to lie, this is hard to write and even admit to myself. But I feel it is so very important that I lay down my pride and admit my mistakes so that others can learn from them like I have. All week I had been working on something totally different but when this hit me I knew I had to change my post.

 
Too often I use the Bible like it is a reference book. I read it to find the solutions to my problems instead of going into my problems equipped with the Word of God. After years and years of reading and thinking I know what’s on the pages, I have begun to stop reading and start searching. For the past few weeks I have been blogging about various subject and topics and constantly turning to the bible while doing so. But I’m not really turning to it before I write to see what it says. I have been turning to it after the fact in hopes of finding a verse that I think exists. Wow that sounds so much worse on paper than in my head. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to twist the words of God. It is more of I have a concept I think exists in The Word and I try to find verses that prove it in relation to a certain problem. That is not what scripture is for. It’s not here for me to reference it to add credibility to my blog. My blog should be written based on truths I have discovered, not ones I have extracted. I should read and the write, not write and then read.

 
Part of me wants to blame my English teachers for making me such a great writer (shoutout to Ms. Krug, you are the reason I graduated college). I cannot count how many pages of required reading I didn’t read yet still aced the follow up paper. It’s simple really, find an idea that exists in a book, read a few pages until a quote appears that supports said idea, and presto you have at least half a paragraph. Oh my gosh, am I writing about Jesus like He is a book report? What have I done?

 
Alright time to calm down and get a grip. It is a mistake. Here is the bottom line: we cannot use the bible like it is an encyclopedia or reference book or something like that. We shouldn’t just google things like verses about loving people when they’re hard to love in hopes of finding our answers to our problems. We need to be reading all the time, ahead of time, because chances are if we have to use google to find verses about something, we have probably already failed in doing what the Bible says. While this is not a completely bad thing, as we all sin and make mistakes, it is not a good habit to get into. It is time we stop referencing and start knowing. Jesus was the best example of this. I know we say that a lot but this time He is a literal example. Before He started his ministry he was tempted by Satan three times, and each time He rebuked the evil one with The Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11). He faced temptation and won because He was equipped. What would have happened if He hadn’t known what the word said? He can’t really take a raincheck on the temptations. Just like in real life we can’t ask for redoes in situations because we don’t know what God’s word says to do. That’s why it is so vital to read the word of God and know what it says beforehand. That way we are equipped to handle debates about gay pastors, dealing with our enemies, and what God says about worrying about the future.

 
Now let me make a note here. It is perfectly okay to turn to the bible when a situation comes up and we have no idea what the bible says. That’s okay because knowing the whole thing is pretty hard. But what I am saying is, that should not and cannot be the only time we turn to it. The Bible is not meant to be our Band-Aid every time sin, the world, or Satan cuts us up. We are to go to battle prepared and not spend time searching for he answers in the heat of the moment. Think about it. Police don’t do raids without bullet proof vests, see that the suspect has a gun, run back, grab a vest, and then continue the raid. No they run in with riot shields, Kevlar vests, solid helmets, and a whole load of protective equipment. Why? It is because they know the potential dangers ahead and are coming prepared. That should be our attitude with the Bible. Read Ephesians 6:10-18 where Paul talks about the armor of God. We literally need to equip ourselves for each day because it is a freaking battle. Satan will throw everything he has at us and we should stand prepared. That preparation comes from being immersed in the Word ahead of time and not read to google the answer after.

 
Well I hope you can learn from this blog as much as I can. To be honest I feel like God had me start writing this blog so that He could teach me, and if anyone else can benefit then that’s just an added benefit. It’s kind of hard to open up like that and publicly admit my sins and mistakes but I am glad I did. There is something oddly refreshing about it. Maybe it is the reminder that as Christian I don’t have to be perfect. There will be mistakes along the way, but they will be met with mercy and grace as long as there is repentance. I’m actually smiling now as I think about that. What an amazing God we serve that can and will forgive His children when they truly turn to Him. I hope you join me in reading to prepare and not reading to reference. Something tells me when we do that God will open so many doors and opportunities to glorify and witness for Him. That is something to smile about.

Thank you for reading this and bearing with me through my mistakes. I hope that you have learned as much as I have. Please continue to share posts like this one as you like. If one of them makes any impact on your life, please share so that maybe someone else could be impacted as well. Thanks and God bless.

 
Chuck

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