Ryan Shervik: "The Word of God is living and Active and can transform your life if you allow it to."
"It’s only one verse, what is the big deal?" These are words that I cringe at when I hear them spoken by people in the church. Unfortunately I have heard them more than I would ever care too. Many people see the Bible as being a document that is open to personal interpretation that allows them the leeway to take what they like and leave the rest.
I would argue that you would be hard pressed to find someone who would disagree with you about the commandment to love one another but it is a different story when it comes to scripture that is related to “hot button” issues like sexual misconduct, marriage issues and others like these which are often more a cause for argument than for encouragement.
But why is it that people seem to think that only certain parts of scripture are worth applying to our lives and others are not? Why is it that people tend to look at the things that make them uncomfortable and decide that these portions of scripture are maybe for other people but not for themselves? How is it that people can read a direct commandment such as “do not steal”, which has no wiggle room in it all, and then justify their illegal copying of media as no big deal because it is “what people do these days”?
There is no part of scripture that gives us this license to pick and choose what truth is to fit our own personal preferences. Paul never wrote to one of his churches that, “God’s word is a guideline to live by, but if the situation warrants it, choose what you think is best.”
Scripture time and again tells us that God’s word is something that we should nourish ourselves with, cling to in times of trouble, hide in our hearts so that we might not sin, learn from and grow in. The Bible is God’s instruction to us. If He did not want us to do certain things or He wanted us to do things instead of what is written then, He would never have had these things recorded the way that they were in the first place. God is inerrant and likewise his word is inerrant.
When we begin to pick apart the Bible, taking some as truth and leaving some as not applicable we make it into a religious document that is lifeless and ultimately a false witness to who God is. The bottom line is this: Either the Bible is true or it is false. It cannot be both at the same time.
It would be like taking a stool with four legs and asking someone to sit on it. They would be fine to do so and the stool would support their weight without any problem. But then ask that same person to sit on a stool that has had one of the legs taken away. They are likely to look at you like you are crazy. Unless they are blind they are not going to trust putting all of their weight on this stool because it will fall. You could explain to them that it is only one leg, and that if they were to think about it the stool still had most of its legs and that really the missing leg won’t effect the use of the stool, but it is highly unlikely that they will trust you or their weight to the stool because it is not firm or solid in its foundation.
Likewise when we make similar statements about verses in the Bible we destroy what the Bible says and it immediately loses the ability to hold any weight in your life and you begin heading down a path that you do not want to go down.
Paul, in 2 Timothy, describes people like this who clamor after those who would tell them what they want to hear rather than what the truth is. 2 Timothy 4:3 says, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from truth and turn aside to myths.” Earlier in this chapter Paul is warning Timothy about the Godlessness to come in the Last Days and also provides a means for combating it.
What he tells Timothy is that all Scripture is God Breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, So that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (3:16-17) Did you notice the second, third, and fourth descriptors used? Rebuking, Correcting, and Training. These things are necessary because, as it is implied, there is right and there is wrong, there is truth and there is untruth. If it was left up to us to decide what we liked and didn’t like, then Christ would have never rebuked the Pharisees, there would never be a need for correction by Paul to those in the churches at Corinth and Timothy would never have needed to be trained.
I would encourage you to examine your heart as you read God’s word. Are you cheering the sections that you like and dismissing the parts that you don’t agree with? The Word of God is living and Active and can transform your life if you allow it to. Pray that God would show you the things of truth that you are pushing aside in favor of personal preferences and ask him to give you strength to seek the truth, stand for the truth, and live the truth in every circumstance.
Posted September 14, 2009 | Ryan Shervik is a recent graduate of Northwest University and lives in Kirkland WA with his wife Cherry.
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Great message| Posted September 14, 2009
Thanks for this devotional Ryan. I pray it permeates the hearts of those who read it and serve God with all their hearts. I especially like this part:
Pray that God would show you the things of truth that you are pushing aside in favor of personal preferences and ask him to give you the strength to seek the truth, stand for the truth, and live the truth in every circumstance.
I'm going to go do that right now! He who is in us is greater than He who is in the world.