Summary: God intended for His Word to be spoken with authority. It must not be taken lightly. It must be approached as if it contained all the power of the universe, which it does.
I believe that many people are, without realizing it, shaping their relationship with God based on excuses. Lack of time is our most popular excuse. Lack of comprehension is a close second. People say to me, “Time is a problem, for sure, but my real problem with the Bible is that I just have trouble figuring out.” Are they saying it is written in a language that is too difficult to understand? Are they saying it is so MYSTICAL that it can only be understood by 12th Century Monks? Are they saying that it is so complicated that they have trouble applying it to their life? And do they think this somehow gives them a pass on reading it? I had this same problem with Geometry when I was in High School. I don’t know why I didn’t use this wonderful excuse with my teachers. Maybe they would have understood that it wasn’t me, it was the math. Maybe I could have made straight A’s if they had taken that into account. I think the real problem with God’s Word for many people is that it isn’t wishy-washy. It draws lines between God’s truth and our personal desires and choices. We want to live life the way we’ve always been living it. And, we want God to cut us some slack. Give us an A, because it’s really His Word that is making it so hard on us. After all, we complain, using God’s Word as a rule of measure, FOR EVERYTHING, is just too much to ask or expect. This was true for the Jews Jesus encountered. In John 8:42 we read, “Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? 47 He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." They were defending their understanding of God’s Word based on their Jewish ancestry. They thought that they DID belong to God simply because they had lived their lives a certain way based on tradition. Jesus said they couldn’t do that. He said many of the things that they had learned and had incorporated into their “religion” were based on lies. They didn’t like that. Or Him! Didn’t matter. He continued to draw a bold line between God’s truth and their lies. Jesus cut to the chase: Everything God has said is true.
Everything Satan says is a lie. They took great offense. There are many people today who have the idea that we need to soften the Bible so it isn’t so offensive. But, scripture is very clear. You are either a friend of God or a friend of the world. You either walk in the Kingdom of God, or you walk in the Kingdom of the world. We’ve been talking about this Kingdom that Jesus brought to the earth. I’ve been preaching about the many benefits of walking safely inside of it. All of the promises of God are for those who walk in Kingdom knowledge. But, we want our spiritual cake and to be able to eat from the world, too. In James 4:4 we read, “You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” You have to pick your side. You cannot have both. You cannot choose to understand the Bible with an attitude that is generic. One size does not fit all. Nor can we use an attitude that keeps shifting. One week we choose this, next week we choose something else. The Word of God says there are only two kinds of people. Those under the headship of Christ, and those who are under the headship of Satan. Ouch!! Can’t we take the edge off of that just a little???
No. There is a fixed hostility between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan that cannot be ignored or side-stepped. In John 15:18 we read, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” It can’t be softened. In 1st Corinthians 2:14 we read, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” We cannot have both feet in the Kingdom of God if we are not spiritually driven. But how do we get our minds to be more open to the Spirit?