“Do I look fat in these pants?”
The answer to that question is only, ever and always, “No. You look great.”
Why? It’s because, in that instance, there are things we value more than honesty! Sometimes we just do not want to know the truth, even if we are asking for it.
This Sunday, and next week in our Daily Worship Devotions, we will be considering our relationship with truth and honesty as we live as God’s Priests in a rapidly changing world. Here at Church of the Redeemer, one of our 5 Core Values is “Truth.” What that means to us is this:
Because the whole counsel of God is revealed in all 66 books of the Bible, we value its truth as central in all that we do. This means we appreciate the honesty and frankness of God’s Word and submit ourselves to its authority.
It’s hard and frustrating to live in a time when churches, pastors, and Christians, responding to cultural changes and pressures, become selective about which parts of God’s Word they will accept and submit to. But, if we are honest, we can sympathize. We all know the same pressure and temptation – whether it’s due to cultural forces or our own natural instincts. Submitting to God’s Word can be painful! After all, “submit” is a word we use when we are doing something that’s hard and against our natural preferences and desires!
We struggle with shame, guilt, and insecurity. So there are times when we skip over or ignore the challenging and exposing words in the Bible. The honesty of God’s Word is often humbling. The frankness of God’s Word is sometimes painful. We don’t like that! This can easily lead to us requiring the Bible to submit to our preference.
Whether it’s an active choice to disagree or a passive choice to just ignore, this choice comes with a significant cost: God is made small; he’s no longer the holy God of Israel that deserves my worship, my heart, my soul, my all. He’s no longer the center, but more like an accessory.
Most often, followers of Christ don’t make the decision to demote God in one single and final moment. It typically happens in increments – several smaller steps in the same destructive direction. While we must acknowledge the sad reality of the decline of the church in the West, we also must look at our own hearts. I, too, am guilty of ignoring and dismissing aspects of God’s Word. When I do this, my God becomes small, unimportant, and my relationship with him becomes superficial.
This week at Church of the Redeemer, we celebrate the honesty and frankness of God’s Word and we recommit ourselves in submitting to its authority. As we prepare to do that, take some time to read and reflect on the Psalm 119:103-111 & Hebrews 4:12-13.
Yours in Christ’s love,