In February of 2006 I ruptured my Achilles’ Tendon at a men’s retreat. In one sudden burst of pain I found that I had a great difficulty walking – and you really don’t want to do that if you have a choice.
I remember vividly sitting in the doctor's office a day or two before the surgery, getting the low-down on what I would be facing both during the surgery and in the weeks of recovery that followed: Six weeks in a cast followed by six weeks in a boot.
After going over a lot of details, Dr. Licht looked squarely at me and said, “I’m good at what I do. I can repair this tendon perfectly one time! If you follow my instructions things will go well! If you don’t follow my instructions to the letter, and you rupture this tendon again, I won’t be as successful, and you’ll likely walk with a limp for the rest of your life!
I want your leg elevated every waking moment unless you are in the bathroom or brushing you teeth. Do you understand?"
For twelve weeks I did exactly what he said. Today, my Achilles tendon is perfect and I have no limp and no limitations. What made the difference? I chose to trust someone who knew far more than I.
Here’s a painful truth: we are headed down a road of destruction because we have trivialized the Word of God. We bend and manipulate the Word, trying to make it to say whatever we choose; whatever suits our weak behaviors. We don’t regard it as what it truly is: the unalterable Word of God.
We view this book as an accumulation of interesting stories, and we assign those stories whatever value we deem appropriate. We don’t view this as being a book of Words that were divinely inspired, coming from God, revealed by His Holy Spirit to man, and intended to be received and accepted as authoritative.
Oh, sure, we still check out God’s thoughts on a range of topics - and we blend His thoughts with ours. It’s not just that it’s wrong thinking, and as such an offence to God. This kind of worldview tears apart the very safeguards that God established to protect us.
The church at Thessalonica received and accepted what Paul said AS THE WORD OF GOD,"...which also performs its work in you who believe." (Philippians 2:13)
Is it any wonder that the world around us is falling apart? We have substituted our thoughts for His thoughts, and our ways for His ways! Even worse, some of us in the church of Jesus Christ are falling apart because we’re toying with the Word of God.
Matthew Henry (1662 – 1714), an English Bible commentator and Presbyterian minister, said this about the Bible:
“We should receive the word of God with affections suitable to its holiness, wisdom, truth, and goodness. The words of men are frail and perishing, like themselves, and sometimes false, foolish, and fickle; but God's word is holy, wise, just, and faithful. Let us receive and regard it accordingly.”
When we receive and accept and believethe Word of God, it changes us.
We begin to be transformed into the image of the very One who saves us: Jesus Christ Himself. Believing is the key to becoming like Christ! And this happens when His awesome power empowers my humble consent.
Philippians 2:13 also suggests that those who do not believe will not see the transformative power of Christ and His word in their lives! "For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."
What is “belief” in God really about? It is when I humble my arrogant self to His glorious Lordship of my life; when I give my humble consent to Him bringing a new governmental structure in my life and my world. When I was a child, our church used to sing this hymn:
When we walk with the Lord in the light of his word, what a glory he sheds on our way! While we do his good will, he abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus,but to trust and obey.
The foundational premise for “trusting and obeying" lies in having a profound realization of the one in whom I have place my trust and obedience! Is this God or not?
It is no surprise that unbelievers ignore God. They have not experienced the amazing miracle of forgiveness, and they do not possess the Holy Spirit living inside of them.
But when we say we love and follow God, ignore or twist or compromise His word, all while expecting that we’ll still reap His blessings because we’re in the Club, we're in trouble !
If I’ve truly come to trust Him over my years of following Him, then why on earth would I question his Words – His wisdom – His instruction?
- Ted Smith, at Church of the Living God, on Sunday, April 22, 2012