Photo copyright by Derek Bair
Guest Blog by Hidden Treasure
Sheila, creator of a blog site dedicated to “wrestling with the Word of God,” often speaks of things that make us uncomfortable, but that we desperately need to hear. Here, with the help of others, she challenges us to go beyond the comfortable bounds we’ve established for ourselves, to the limitless possibilities God calls us to.
The message the Lord is giving me this week from the blogs and devotionals I follow is a sobering, but extremely relevant, one. Thank you to all the bloggers I follow. Be set free.
For the time is coming when they will no longer listen and respond to the healing words of truth because they will become selfish and proud. They will seek out teachers with soothing words that line up with their desires, saying just what they want to hear. ~2 Tim. 4:2-3
The Living Word exposes these self-inflicted boundaries to us—piercing our hearts, interpreting our innermost motives, and even challenging our cherished assumptions. This is why I contend that we should learn to let the Bible study us.
For we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone and marrow meet! It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts. ~Hebrews 4:12
Here’s the danger. Without this continual ‘piercing,’ without the Spirit’s constant recalibration of our perspective, without letting the Holy Spirit speak through other people we’re in community with, who may even irritate us at times, our unexamined life will just be following our own confirmation bias. We will seek out teachers with soothing words that line up with our desires, saying just what we want to hear. Like birds of a feather flocking together, we’ll only be open to teachers we already agree with. We will have stopped ‘the eyes of our hearts from being enlightened’(Ephesians1:18), resting in a truth that makes us comfortable, instead the Truth that makes us truly free.
“‘For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)’ These words bothered me. They still do. They set up a stark contrast I have never managed to get past. On the one hand: the whole world. On the other hand: my soul. I so want to dwell somewhere in the decision-less middle. I want a life overflowing with monetary wealth and I want a soul filled with God. The text tells me I must decide on one or the other. As a kid, I somehow knew the splinter of this saying would pulsate with nagging pain until I aimed my life in one of these two directions. It was clear to me. These roads led to two completely different destinations, and one of those would look like great gain and yet be complete loss. Little did I know at the time how these words would stick in my soul like a tiny shard of wood even to the present day. As an adult, I now know this is not a one-time transaction. It’s an everyday decision.” ~J.D. Walt
“Janet Malcolm from her book In the Freud Archives: ‘There are few among us who do not resist self-knowledge. We are all perpetually smoothing and rearranging reality to conform to our wishes; we lie to others and ourselves constantly, unthinkingly. When, occasionally — and not by dint of our own efforts but the under the pressure of external events — we are forced to see things as they are, we are like naked people in a storm.’ When naked in the storm of his own sin, King David stared at the unvarnished reality of his bad moves. He confessed his sins and asked for mercy, ‘According to your steadfast love’ (Psalm 51) …
“We, like David can embrace our true selves and confess our sins. Because we know God is forgiving and our time is finite: life will end. And we can lose or win by our actions or simply lose on time… With God’s help, I’ll sweep away self-deception to reveal my true self. And make good use of the time I’ve been given.” ~Carole Duff
“Not only will Jesus have to take up his cross – you and I will. There’s no nicer, refined, more reasonable way, even if we carefully surround ourselves solely with nice, refined, reasonable churchy people. For true life requires complete surrender to it. And what will be the point of gaining the whole world by thinking as the world thinks, if it means falling short of true life?” ~Suzanne Guthrie (At the Edge of the Enclosure)
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”