I turned beet red. My stomach dropped to my toes and I shrunk in my seat. I had never been more embarrassed in my life! My Bible teacher had just used my homework as an example of “what not to do” in Doctrinal Canon Testing class. The paper I had been up late the night before just trying to get done was anonymously used before the whole class. They didn’t know it was me – but I did. I took an easy sounding passage of Scripture COMPLETELY out of it’s context in a class that was suppose to be teaching me to do the opposite! As I left that class and faced my teacher on the way out, I sheepishly said to him “I don’t fear you more because of this… I fear the Word of God more.“
This memory used to be one of my least favorites during my Bible training season. However now, almost 7 years after that occurrence, it is the single most valuable memory which I now rejoice over having! Why? Well, I’ll tell you!
I was given a verbal “spanking” of sorts that caused me to be so fully ashamed of mishandling the Word of God in front of my peers that, the class stuck. All of it. I didn’t know how much I needed that instruction OR that its subject would become so extremely applicable to my life in the years to come.
Whether you know it or not, what you believe will come out of who you are – but you may not realize that your Christian perspective has been built up by teachers, theology, songs, podcasts, books, YouTube videos and many, many more things… but not by the Word of God. This is why as Believers in the Truth (the ONE truth, Jesus), we must TEST everything we listen to, read or hear to the whole of Scripture.
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11
This is Paul we are talking about, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ! He of all people you would think should be easy enough to accept as truth for the Berean Jews… but no. They tested his words against the whole of Scripture and proved them to line up! Not only that, but they received it with great eagerness! When you have found the truth of life – it is only through that truth that more life comes.
Unfortunately, all too often are we taken up by good-sounding words or songs or books that we have not tested by the one source of truth. This fools our hearts and leads us down a path that looks like light… but is changing the trajectory of the straight and narrow. It disguises itself as “truth” and looks like “really good information” – but when it does not lead us to Jesus, we find ourself on a path away from him. Those paths can look like very holy things like Bible study, missions or family culture, but they end in a different truth than Jesus being your life. This was the same warning Paul was giving to the church at Colossae and to the young Timothy who could so easily be caught up in something besides Christ.
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
“Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.” Colossians 2:18-20
“…Remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.”
1 Timothy 1:3b-4
Remember brothers and sisters, in this time where even our government is changing so quickly… Jesus is still your life. Jesus is the rock that you should be obsessed about and the world should look at us and say “I need that rock”. Your confidence and joy should only grow stronger as this world grows dimmer! Let us be known for being a people who are about HIM and nothing else.