By Lindsay Winton
I’ve started reading a book called “Counsel from the Cross” by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson. It’s one of those that’s been sitting on my shelf for quite awhile and I’ve been meaning to pick up, but just haven’t. This is one of those (many) times that I love how God ordains things in our lives. I am taking a Biblical Greek class and it’s HARD. Not just difficult, not just challenging, but downright put your head on the table and cry that you didn’t pay much closer attention to high school English, HARD! During the course of this class I started wondering if maybe all of the desire that I had to dig into Scripture the way that I’m wanting to, the knowledge-base that I hope to develop, is not self-serving instead of God-honoring. Am I wanting to be full of head-knowledge, but lacking in the transformative daily power of living my life fully surrendered God’s glory? Good question, right? No one intentionally seeks out to be puffed up on theology but lacking in a life that lives out the shining light of Christ within us. So, back to the aforementioned book; I finally picked it up and, WOW! The very first chapter spoke to what I was debating so well that it was as if God was telling me that He’s created me and the way that I think and process, just keep the focus on Him and the gospel and it will all be for the Kingdom and not the world, i.e., selfish ambition (James 3:14, 16).
The first chapter of this book gives a description of “white noise”. The author proceeds to describe how she tunes out the noise of the freeway right by her house because to her it is just white noise. This is where the whammy comes in – she gives a Scripture verse (Eph. 5:1) and proceeds to break down just how much of it we, as readers of the active, living, Word of God, skim over as white noise. WHOA! The thing is, it’s true (at least for me). We become so familiar with certain portions of the Bible that we don’t really stop to consider that this is the inspired Word of God. He gave this to us so that we can know Him, daily, hourly, minute by minute. The words on the page are there for a reason. The author writes, “We filter these words out; they have become irrelevant. And when that happens, it changes the message of the verse and, ultimately, of the entire Bible.” It grieves me to think that my lack of attention when reading the Bible is changing the message that I’m hearing. I want to know what God says, I long to hear His voice. How can I not take the Word lightly, glossing it over? The answer for me is by slowing it down. I am right now so thankful for this class that is so hard because it is forcing me to stop and think over every single word.
Last week we were working through the first chapter of 1 John. It took 3 hours. Read vv.6-10 slowly and carefully:
“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
There is so much in that small portion of Scripture that we could miss, but there are a couple of things that I got out of studying this:
- Twice we are told that if we claim we do not sin (walk in darkness) we are liars. LIARS.
- If we claim no sin, not only are we liars, we are calling Him a liar. I sure don’t want to be calling Jesus a liar.
- If we confess, actively, continuously, presently, He IS faithful, He IS just, and WILL forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We must live our lives with a heart of ongoing confession to stay in the pure fellowship that Jesus died on the cross for us to have.
This portion of Scripture gives us the gospel message. I pray that all of us, in our reading of the Bible, would not be so rushed with things to do, laundry to wash, dinners to prep, that we would miss the love that God has for us through the death of His Son and the precious fellowship that He wants to have with us. He is in the light and His blood cleanses us. The blood that He shed for us gives us the privilege to walk in the light, in fellowship with Him.