When it comes to following Jesus the human species is good at choosing sides. You would think that when Jesus asked us to follow Him that it was also a requirement to bring our own opinions and views. The dictionary tells us that “follow” means to “go or come after a person or thing.” For us humans it is so incredibly hard for us to stay centered, stay on course and have integrity of heart as we follow Jesus. Paul encouraged young Timothy to handle the Word of God rightly. (2 Timothy 2:15) Sounds simple, but with a whirlwind of life experiences and personal preferences in the end we usually accept what sounds the best for us. Please do not take offense as I include myself in this human discrepancy.
To rightly handle the Word of God a person has to lay aside all their family traditions, personal preferences, doctrines, and even their political persuasion and place their heart on the table. Just put on the shelf all that we think we believe and have the mindset that no matter how God’s word might offend my sensitivities or cultural views I am going to be like Abraham and simply (drum roll please) “believe God!” I am going to study to show myself approved unto God alone. This takes time and yes effort. We start with believing God even when we do not understand.
God built a dynasty on one man (Abram) believing what He said no matter what anyone else thought or what circumstances Abram found himself in. This is a rare breed that can do this, but it can be done. It takes waking up every day and laying aside our soulish living and picking up our own cross where our nature finds its end and simply follow after Jesus.
In the last several years there is a move among many to take the old doctrines of hell, judgment and salvation and find something new and relevant. Give a fresh look and present a different Jesus that might fit much better in our social structure. No doubt there are still some die hard beliefs in Christendom that needs a good tune up and needs to be fixed. The truth has always been there and Jesus has always been, well, Jesus. He has never changed nor ever will. We forcefully tout that God is the same yesterday, today and forever but then go out and live and speak as if this statement is not true.
Today many are opting out of the hard sayings of Jesus and rather choosing to focus that Jesus came to bring us peace, acceptance, mercy and love. To this I give a rowdy amen! But unless you are going to join the Rainbow people where everything is fields of flowers and beds of roses Jesus also came in truth. John tells us this very simply. “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Now we love the grace part because we desperately need it. Truth, now that is an individual right that we will just have to discuss. You see, this is why we desperately must pursue to handle the Word of God rightly.
No doubt that over the years there have been so much “doctrine” that has taken us even unconsciously to the extreme. It has and still is ingrained in many circles of Christianity. But the answer is not taking Jesus under our arm and walking across the highway from the right ditch and set up camp in the left ditch. Otherwise we will become just like the ones we despise. Maybe this is why Jesus said that the way to life is hard, narrow and few find it.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15