Friday, June 20, 2014

Arguing with the Manual Writer

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Many think that the Bible is just a book of encouragement, merely a collection of stories, or simply a bunch of rules.  However, these are all false conceptions of the Word of God.  Yes, the Bible can be encouraging.  Yes, it contains stories of men and women of history and even has rules.  But as Christians, we know that it's infinitely, unfathomably more.

Think about just how amazing it is that we have the Bible.  It's God's very Word!  By His words, the universe came into being.  With His words, He calmed storms and healed a myriad of sick people - both physically and spiritually.  And on top of that, He has given that Word to us!  The question is, though: do we act like it?

I've heard some say that the Bible is a Christian manual.  While the metaphor misses some essential elements of scripture, there is some truth in it.  Life, you could say, is sort of like building a bicycle.  Why would you attempt to build one without consulting the manual for guidance?  I've never heard statements such as these:
"Yeah, but this manual doesn't apply to my bike."
"I know it says that, but with this bike, I'm sure it would work better this way."
"But if the manual writer were in my situation, he would see that it doesn't work."
"Well he didn't really mean that when he wrote it, what he really meant was this."
See how silly that is?  Yet we, whether intentionally or unintentionally, constantly use these excuses in our lives.  The great "Manual Writer" of life knows and has revealed to us, among other things, the best way to live life.  He created life itself, so how could my plan or idea possibly top His?  I can't see the end, but He can see the end, the beginning, and everything in between.

It is crucial that we line up our lifestyles with the Will of God, according to His Word.  If an aspect of your life is contrary to His word, change it!  Who are we to argue with the Author of life?  It's as foolish as arguing with the manual writer.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Deaf to the Spirit

In the last post, I talked about the necessity of being wholly God's, and used 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 to explain its extreme importance and greatness:
"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."
In this post, we're going to look at the same verse, but in a slightly different light.  Again, contextually speaking, Paul is writing primarily about the sexual immorality of the church of Corinth, but there is another universal truth that we must understand: we are each the temple of the Holy Spirit.

In Old Testament times, the dwelling place of Emmanuel (meaning "God with us") was between the cherubim on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant.  He literally had a tent (the tabernacle), just like the rest of the Israelites.  He dwelt with them.

When Christ laid down His life, however, something changed.  The veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was torn from top to bottom, symbolizing that we can enter into God's presence without an intermediary.  He no longer dwells in temples made with hands (Acts 7:48), and is not longer simply with us.  He is in us.  How amazing it is to know that the Maker of Heaven and Earth, the Alpha and Omega, and the Savior of mankind would choose to dwell in us!

Too often, though, we take for granted the fact that we have the Spirit of Almighty God in our hearts.  Our perception of Him becomes that of a deity who allows us to live our own lives without interference unless we ask him to help us out, rather than that of a personal God who is constantly seeking to speak to us and mold us into who He wants us to be.  In reality, too many of us are deaf to the Spirit.

How do you live your life?  In the choices you make, entertainment you enjoy, things that fill your conversation, and in your day-to-day behavior with your family and friends, do you live like Christ is watching, guiding, and shaping your life? or do you do your own thing, as if He's distant and just "there for you?"

The more we listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, the more our lives will resemble Christ and His love.  The more we allow ourselves to become distracted with our own plans, lives, and desires, the more we deafen ourselves to the Spirit.  Let us live every moment remembering that the One Who holds the universe chooses to live and work in our hearts.