Last night right before I went to bed I remembered that I hadn’t read the New Testament all day. I knocked out the Old Testament in the morning, but put off the New. It was late and I was tired, so the idea of not reading quickly came to mind. But almost as soon as the thought of abandoning the Bible came to me, another thought came in. “Why would I do that? The Bible’s my rock. It’s the basis of my Christian life and everything I believe. I think I can sacrifice a few minutes of sleep for one chapter.”
This is not a new predicament, or one that is exclusive to myself. Everyday Christians around the world have to fight to get into the word. Whether they’re fighting culture, apathy, governments, etc., there is always a struggle to get into the Bible. A lot of Christians think it’s unnecessary for them to read the Bible. “I won’t understand it anyway, so why waste my time. I’ll just go to church or watch church on T.V. and let someone else explain it to me.” This is something I hear a lot, and have been tempted to indulge in myself.
In 2008 I went to a sort of Christian training for college students. The topic was the book of Philippians, and something one of the brothers said came to me last night. He told us that “Without the Word of God to go along with the bountiful supply of the Spirit, our Christian life can be unstable…. The Word never changes and is always the same, so it can stabilize our Christian life.”
Isn’t this good? I’m so unstable and constantly fluctuating. One minute I’m praising the Lord and the next I’m completely immersed in the world and my own problems to the point that I forget about God and focus on my pitiful self.
There’s a parable in Matthew 7:24-27 that portrays my situation perfectly:
“Everyone therefore who hears these words of Mine and does them shall be likened to a prudent man who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and they beat against that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them shall be likened to a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and they dashed against that house; and it fell, and its fall was great.”
The translation I’m using has fantastic footnotes. I want to share two of them here, one for the word “rock” and the other for the word “sand”.
Rock – “Rock does not refer to Christ but to His wise word, the word that reveals the will of His Father who is in the heavens. The living and work of the kingdom people must be founded on the word of the new King for the accomplishing of the will of the heavenly Father. This is to enter in through the narrow gate and walk the constricted way that leads to life.”
Sand – “Sand refers to human concepts and natural ways. If we live and work according to our human concepts and natural ways, our living and work will be founded on sinking sand. This is to enter in through the wide gate and walk the broad way that leads to destruction.”
This is so true. Without the word of God, all we’re left with is our own ideas of how to live a proper Christian life. We may look to other people and philosophies, but how we apply what we see and appreciate in those people and philosophies still depend on our “human concepts and natural ways.” But even though certain traditions and ideologies may look solid and trustworthy on the surface, they’re really just sinking sand with no support. The only way to really have a stable Christian life is to read the “wise word” of God. People and philosophies come and go, but the Bible is constant and unchanging. There is no other way to know the Father’s will or receive the grace needed to walk the narrow and constricted way. So which do you want? A house that is stable and strong, or a house that can fall with a change in the wind? Oh Lord! Keep us all in Your wise word!