"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." John 7:38

Caught Off Guard

Falls can happen so quickly; rarely are we prepared for, or expecting them. One day you’re just minding your own business, watching marshmallow races in the moat, trusting that all is right with the world, and then something happens.

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It doesn’t have to be an earth shattering event, but something causes a subtle shift, and your footing begins to slip.

Maybe a friend gives you a new book that knocked their spiritual socks off, or you read a blog post, or you hear a song that touches you to the core, and you pause. However, if you aren’t deliberately checking your footing you might not notice something happening to the foundation you are standing on… a stone gets wobbly.

Oh, it’s nothing, you think. Maybe the book, article, song, or personality is not focusing on Jesus, but the words are all Christian sounding, so you keep reading, listening, or following. It all sounds great; a verse or two is quoted, so it must be Christian.

However, something is not quite the same so you compensate for the shakiness and lean in a bit. You’ll be able to hold your balance, you reason, because you are a Christian. But, pretty soon, you have a choice: Do you step back? Or do you move forward?

The new formula for spiritual growth sounds so easy, just do this or that, follow these easy steps, and boom! Sanctified! Or maybe it’s a new pattern for prayer that guarantees intimacy with God. Or maybe it’s just tweaking the old way for a new way, a new enlightened way.

The only problem is, when the foundation is not Jesus – when the foundation is someone’s idea of Christianity, or an ideology that feels good, or a promise of health and wealth, and yet there is nothing in it that references sin, the cross, or Jesus — this is religion alright, but it’s religion without the blood of Jesus. If you continue, you will fall.

What do you do now? Look up! Look around! Who is standing with a helping hand? Who is ready to help you get your feet back on solid ground? Who is God using to help pull you back to truth? Who can you trust?

How is it that we fall so quickly for the latest, shiniest, new thing – the new spiritual trend, new interpretations, new ideas, new personality, new movement, or new distractions? Because we are not continually checking our footing. When we are not deliberately practicing discernment about what truth we are walking upon, or leaning in to the Rock upon which we profess to stand, we risk falling.

The reality is, this happens all the time, it has happened to me, and it has happened to friends of mine. We long for intimacy with God, for a deeper spiritual walk, for a fast-track to sanctification, and when we are looking anywhere other than the Word of God, there will be something to find.

We must weigh every single thing we read, every program, every new idea, every book, every blog post, every theory, every movement against the Word of God. It is only as we use the grid of Scripture as the filter for everything we input that we can be sure we are taking in truth, and not a distorted perception of truth.

Not only must we filter everything through the grid of Scripture, we must be intentional about applying Scripture to our lives. That means we must read God’s Word as much as we read books about God’s Word. We must let Scripture stretch us, change us, confirm truth in us, and cast out deception. Only God’s Word does all of this.

The Apostle Paul told Timothy that every bit of God’s Word is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work ( 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

This is not to say that there aren’t wonderful books out there to help us understand and apply the Word of God. And, it isn’t to say there aren’t wonderful programs, and studies and songs. However, as we utilize them to help us grow, we must be very discerning, are they leading us to a deeper understanding of God, or to something else? Are they preaching Jesus or someone else? Are the Scriptures cited in context, or something else?

We can’t know all of this on our own, that’s why we must find a faithful friend who will stand with us, a knowledgeable theologian we trust, a pastor who is grounded in the Bible, someone who will come alongside us and say, “that is a shaky stone you’re standing on and if you continue, you will fall.”

We must remain faithful to the things we have been taught (2 Timothy 3:14). Because there will come a time, if it is not already here, that most people will not want the truth of God’s Word; they will want whatever sounds good, and whatever makes them feel good. They will follow their own desires and look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Because people want this kind of religion, this kind of surface-level sanctification and feel-good-theology, you can rest assured there will be plenty of people willing to write and sell books, blogs, and songs to accommodate their desires. They will be sprinkle in just enough Christianese to fool all of us who are not deliberately and consistently grounding our footing in the truth.

Wherever we stand, if we are not standing on the solid foundation of the Word of God, we are standing on shaky ground. Jesus said it best, “anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash (Matthew 7:24-27 NLT).

Upon what foundation are you standing today? Is it the Word of God, or a great new idea from a great new book written by a great new author? Is your truth resting in a personality, program, or publication, or the Person of God?

*No children were harmed in the writing of this blog thanks to the cat-like reflexes of a certain six-year-old.

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Comments on: "Caught Off Guard" (4)

  1. Sandy Carlson said:

    Thanks Marcia! A great reminder for us all. I’m so grateful God has kept me in His Word for 45 years. “Those who hunger and thirst after Righteousness will be filled. Or, “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice for they will be satisfied”.We have Jesus promise!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dorothy Sexton said:

    This was right on the Monet, Marcia!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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