The purpose of the scriptures

The bible can be a confusing place. So many different letters and books, written by so many different people at different times in history to various groups of different people. Hundreds of thousands of written scriptures, all God breathed, yet many of them seemingly contradictory. The bible is a challenging read to say the least, and for the most part, people find their own unique perspective of  who God is, what He says, and of course, what He requires from us.

This is completely understandable. Every person is different and will therefore naturally have their own unique way of looking at life and the scriptures. The problem is not so much having a different perspective of scripture, but having a “distorted” or “incomplete” view of God.  Our understanding of the scriptures is directly proportional to our relationship with God. It informs and defines how we relate to Him and how we believe He relates to us. And this is why it is so important that we have the correct perspective and understanding of what it says. Because how we understand scripture ultimately defines how we see God.

For this reason, it is very important to look at scripture holistically and in context. We should not just take a piece of scripture and apply it to our life blindly (but this is what most do). We need to understand what was being said to who, why it was being said, when it was said, who wrote it, and so forth. All these elements will help us understand what God was communicating about himself, which will ultimately help us understand who He is. And better understanding who He is, helps us relate to Him better, which is ultimately His desire and the purpose of the scriptures: So we may KNOW Him!

This is important. Although the scriptures accomplish many things, its purpose is that we may KNOW Him through it. Not so much that we would obey him and do everything it says, but rather that we would get a revelation of who He is.

With that being said, many of you may look at scripture as a long line of duties. Serve me, feed my sheep, love your neighbour as yourself, follow me, do not be luke warm, and so forth. And depending on what lens you use to look at the scriptures through, this may be all you see. Expectation. Responsibility. Duty. The problem with that lens is that it ultimately results in failure, dissapointment, and  guilt. The hundreds of “expectations” the Lord reveals through the scriptures are not designed to give us a list of things to do. But they are actually designed to teach us about Himself.

Here is a good example. When a man makes certain rules for his household, you get to understand what type of man he is. If he makes a rule that the family must sit around a dinner table every night when eating, it tells you that He values family time and wants to see his family grow with a healthy sense of communication and relational balance. When he makes a rule that his daughter may not date until she is 18, you can see that he loves his daughter and wants to protect her until she is ready to venture the maze of relationships. His family may sometimes break the rules that he sets, and that is ok. A loving Father does not want rule-keepers, but wives and children that love him, and desire to please him. For that reason, He does not make rules to be kept blindly – like if a his son sits at the table every night without saying a word just to keep the rule – that would be missing the point. No, he makes rules because they express his fatherhood. They reveal his love. They ensure that his wisdom and ways are established. So more than anything, they are a reflection of His character as a Father. And the same is true of the scriptures, and especially all the rules within it.

So, the scriptures can say many different things, it all depends on the lens you look through. If you want to see rules, you will see rules, probably followed with an expectation to have to fulfill them. But if you want know God, you will look at those same rules and you will see His heart and character, which will naturally be followed with a reverence and love for Him.

The beauty of this lens, is that when getting to know the Lord and falling in love with His character, you are naturally filled with a desire to please him. And this is the way He desires it. He is not interested in people that obey for the sake of obeying. He does not want your “sacrifice”. God is interested in getting to know you. He wants friends. Family members that will get to know Him and love Him back by doing things that please him. And if they do not, does He hold it against them or make them feel guilty for not doing it? No, He does not. He simply continues loving them so that by being reminded of His wonderful character they will naturally be compelled again to love Him back in the ways that He desires.

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In the beginning… (part 2): Curiosity killed humanity!

#2.2 of Living with Christ as our Source

*** This article is part of a blog series about what it means to live with Christ as our source. You can check out the Introduction to the series by clicking here. ***

Last week, we saw that in the beginning, Adam and his Wife only knew to live from what God taught and instructed. They were like children depending wholeheartedly on their Father. They did not claim to know “right” from “wrong”, but only knew what God had “said” versus what God had “not said.” In this we see a glimpse of what it means to live from Christ as our Source. It is a shift from trying to live from a place of human understanding to a place where we live by the Word of God. Something that both Adam and his wife were doing quite successfully, until the Woman got into a conversation with the serpent.

As naive as children are, so also was the Woman. Her first mistake was to converse with the serpent. We see this many times in stories of children being upducted. The predators begin “talking” to them and in so doing, lure them away with all kinds of lies. Hence the very famous instruction to all children: “Don’t talk to strangers!” The Woman unfortunately had not gotten this memo, and ended up getting into a seemingly “harmless” converstaion that would ultimately doom the world forever.

Her first mistake and essentially the one that lead to her sin and their fall was “listening” to a different source. Conversing and discussing the ways of life and rules for living with someone other than her creator. She knew what the Lord had said, we see that in the passage in Genesis 3, but she chose to “entertain” the musings and thoughts of someone else other than God. In that moment, she let go of her union with God to “discover” what this serpent might know.

We see this in stories of adultery. Initially, it does not start out as adultery, or even desire, but simply as “curiosity“. The man for example refrains from holding onto the union in His heart with His wife, and kind of, “lets go” of the side railing to put his toes into the water to see what it feels like. To “test” it. He says to himself, “I just want to see what it feels like. It can’t hurt. I’m not doing anything wrong. Besides, I can handle it. I’m not going to stray too far from the edge.” And then we all know what happens. Curiosity turns into a game, and the game turns into desire, and desire turns into… , well you know the story. And soon the man is fully submerged in the waters of adultery, that are flowing harder and stronger down river to his doom.

And it was exactly the same for the Woman. She was “curious.” And her curiosity lead her down a path that we have never fully recovered from.

Now there is nothing wrong with curiosity, in its right place. Just like a child comes running to her dad with something weird in her hand saying “daddy, daddy what is this?”, so too the Woman could have done the same. She could have firstly involved her husband, and then they could have both gone to God and told him what the serpent had said asking “Lord, Lord, what is this that the serpent has said? Is it true?”

But she didn’t. And after she had eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, so did Adam. Without question. He just naively listened to the same nonsense the serpent had told his wife. In that moment, He let go of God as His source, and chose to receive information for life from the serpent via his wife. He too was “curious” of this power that He could have by eating of this tree. And it ended up in tragedy for us all.

And in this my dear brothers and sisters we see a fundamental lesson of living with Christ as our Source. We need to be completely united to Him and Him ALONE. There is no place to be connected to Him and to something else. That something else, will ultimately pull us down and away from God.  We must not even entertain looking at or engaging with anything else other than Christ. Even if that something resembles Christ in some way. If it is not Christ, it is satan. Simple. Just like there were only two sources back then, there are still only two sources today. Christ, accessed by dying to self, and satan, accessed by building up the self.

Lord Jesus Christ. I ask that you will show us what it means to be connected to you completely. What it means to live with you as our only source. Show us the counterfeits in our lives and give us the courage to disconnect from them so that we can be fully reconnected to you and you alone. We want to live out our purpose in spirit and in complete truth.

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You have just finished reading article number 2.2 of Living with Christ as our SOURCEIn the beginning… (part 2): Curiosity killed humanity!  If you wish to leave a comment, please click on the Comment link below. Also, if you have enjoyed it, please consider sharing it by clicking on the relevant links below the post on the blog. And if you missed last weeks post, click on the link just above the comment box to check it out. Glad to have you aboard!

In the beginning… (part 1): Childlike dependence on God

#2.1 of Living with Christ as our Source

*** This article is part of a blog series about what it means to live with Christ as our source. You can check out the Introduction to the series by clicking here. ***

It would only be appropriate to start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). 😉

Man and Woman have been created and placed in the garden together. God has created the heavens and the earth, the fish of the sea, the creatures of the land, and the birds of the sky. He has also created plants and vegetation on the earth designed to produce fruit for food. Additionally, he has placed two very special and unique trees in the garden. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God has told them that they can eat the fruit of any tree in the garden accept the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

This first account of God and man is very significant. It was the beginning. The first time we see a glimpse of untainted relationship between God and man. And there are definite characteristics to it. God is the creator and man is the created. God is the one giving man everything he needs for life, and man is the one learning what that means. He is like a little child in many ways. Looking to a Father for his every move. Needing His Father to show him how to brush his teeth, eat his food, and wipe his….mouth. He really is completely dependent. And that is exactly what we see in the initial relationship between God and man.

But then, sadly, everything changes. Man decides to live from a different source. Man decides to depend on someone else….

I have heard it many times said that in the beginning, man went his own way and that is what caused the fall. In some ways that is true. But it is not the whole picture. Man is like a child. He does not actually know how to “do his own thing” so to speak. He has been designed to live from a source. This is represented in all of life. Children need parents. The body needs food. The mind needs education. All external things giving us what we need to live and grow.  If you think carefully about your life and all the aspects of it, you will realise that nothing in fact comes from yourself. Everything is taken in from the outside, processed, and then released. Nothing actually originates from within you. Everything comes from an outside source. (More on this in future posts)

And in the beginning, we see two distinct sources. God, and Satan. Man is given instructions from God. Instructions by which to live and grow. He is told what to eat, and what not to eat. He is told what to do with his time and what his relationship should be with his wife. He is given everything he needs for life from God, his all sufficient source. But then, something new is introduced into the story… A new and different source. Let us take a look at it together:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said,‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”  But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.  Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Genesis 3: 1-7

Now, if you look at this closely, you will see that the Woman’s initial mistake was not eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. That only came later. In fact, it was deciding to listen to a different source: the serpent. Up until that point, both Adam and his Wife had relied completely on God for their “knowledge” of what to do and what not to do. In fact, you can see it in the Woman’s answer: “but God said,…” She does not claim to know what is right and wrong, she is simply telling the serpent what God had told them concerning what they were and were not allowed to do. In this you can see a complete reliance on what God had spoken. Not a knowledge of right and wrong, but a simple lifestyle that flowed from a relationship with God. His instructions, his ways, his words motivating their every move. Not their own thoughts, or their own ways, or their own understanding. Simply, God’s!

And in this we see a glimpse of what pure, untainted relationship was like with God. It was humble, almost childlike in nature. Only knowing what God says and needing nothing more. Living effectively and blissfully by listening to Him and doing only as He instructs. Essentially, living by the Word of God.

But then, something went terribly wrong…

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You have just finished reading article number 2.1 of Living with Christ as our SOURCEIn the beginning… (part 1): Childlike dependence on God  If you wish to leave a comment, please click on the Comment link below. Also, if you have enjoyed it, please consider sharing it by clicking on the relevant links below the post on the blog. And if you missed last weeks post, click on the link just above the comment box to check it out. Glad to have you aboard!