Don’t be a Lone Ranger Christian

So I’ve just decided I’m not going to Spain, right? And then I get this e-mail saying, “hey, you’re accepted!”

cool.

Seriously God? What is this supposed to mean? I’m trying to come up with a logical reason as to why I’d get accepted if I wasn’t supposed to go. And I got nothing.

So I’m thinking. And into my mind pops the story of Abraham and Isaac.

Perfect. Bingo. Biblical justification. No one can argue with me, not even myself. Because logic. The rules are you have to find scripture to justify what you’re doing – so, I did. And I didn’t even go look for it, it just popped into my mind.

Obviously I was willing to sacrifice Spain and God knew I was willing to do that. Since I was willing, like Abraham was willing, I get what I want because Abraham got what he wanted. That’s how God works, right?  Clearly I did not understand at the time that God’s promises to Abraham aren’t meant to be read like that. God’s promise to Abraham had nothing to do with the fact that Abraham really wanted a kid, actually. God never promised me Spain – God doesn’t really promise us those kind of things. He does promise us Himself. I’ve also found Proverbs 16:9 and Psalm 37:23-24 to be incredibly re-assuring that we can just keep walking toward something (not including walking toward sin) and eventually it’ll all come out right. Pursuing going to Spain was not sinful, the how, the why, and the way I was going about getting there was.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

The steps of a man are established by the Lordwhen he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. Psalm 37:23-24

God promises us a lot of things, but he does not promise us specific things like a husband, or a vocation, or a location, etc. Thinking he promises us specifics can really get you into sticky situations. And it’s why I like to say you should not be a “Lone Ranger Christian.” When you go it alone you can develop some pretty wonky theology and justify a lot of things. Resist the temptation to believe you don’t need other people to hold you accountable in your understanding of the Word and/or that you don’t need to be sitting with the Word regularly.

My church did a series called “XII Marks” and in the message called ‘Word‘ my friend and pastor Jason made two very good points.

When talking about the use of the Word in fighting temptation.

“We must know what is written so that when it comes up, when temptation lurks, we can say ‘It is written.'” … “We need to know what is written. And in that moment you won’t discover it. That moment is prepared for you so that you can display how God has been working in your heart all along.” 

And highlighting Satan’s use of the Word when tempting Jesus in the wilderness.

“See often pages are pillaged from the text. Words taken out of context and used in our own mind to comfort us and make us feel good about ourselves. We can take a verse like “the plans I have for you says the Lord to prosper you and give you a future.” Yes. And that might make us feel happy and comfortable, ‘It’s all about me!,’ but in that text, {that statement/promise} it’s anchored in the concept that if you seek the welfare of the city, in their welfare, in their shalom, in their peace you will find your own. Now that sounds hard. See the evil one can even take a verse out of context and make you feel like you don’t have to do anything dangerous or courageous, but God always leads you to a place where you need him and you need to know his Word.” 

Journey {not} to Spain | When God “Speaks” | Don’t be a Lone Ranger Christian | Crossroads | Say the hard things {part one} | Say the hard things {part two}

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