OBSERVATION: Is my life balanced? Am I walking openly and honestly with regard to the truth of God’s Word, or am I focusing only on the things that I am familiar or comfortable with? Almost all teaching or interpretation that moves from sound Biblical interpretation to error can be traced to a personal bent toward one area of truth. This is why Paul exhorts young Timothy, with all seriousness and urgency, to be impartial in his life of following the teachings that Paul has given to him. This is an exhortation we all need to take seriously.
One of the things that contributes to our tendency to wander from this balance is our preoccupation with what I will call “snippets” of truth. The Christian Book Store is filled with books and devotionals that are written to focus on a narrow lane of God’s complete revelation of truth. We have personal promise books with single verse Scriptures that we memorize, with no context of when, to whom, or why they were given. Without the context of these promises we can easily run in the wrong direction and move from balance to error.
One example of this comes from my youth. As a young believer, and as a young pastor, I was filled with enthusiasm and faith. I believed God’s Word whole heartedly and, like Peter, would jump out of the boat if I thought I was receiving the least little prompting of the Lord! However, I did not have the discernment to understand the difference between the Spirit’s leading and my enthusiastic presumption.
My wife and I were renting a home that was far above our present financial ability to own. It was a great deal, and we dreamed of how wonderful it would be if we could purchase it. Then I read the Scripture promise given to Joshua. Every place you place your foot – I will give you the land! Well, that was enough for me. I went and began to march around the property line of this home, claiming it in the name of Jesus. Now, I did this with all the faith and sincerity I could. I was sure the Lord would open a miraculous door for us to purchase it.
What happened shook my faith to the core. The next week a for sale sign went up on the front yard, and we were given a 30 day notice to move out.
What had happened? Was God’s Word not true? Was my faith defective? Was there some sin in my life keeping me from the blessing of God? No, none of these were the issue. The issue was I simply lost my balance. I became so narrowly focused on what I wanted that I began to pick and choose the Bible verses, out of context, that rubber stamped my desires. This is a temptation for us all, and Paul knew that it would be a temptation for young Timothy. And so, passionately, lovingly, and wisely Paul exhorts Timothy,
- “I solemnly call on you in the sight of God, Christ Jesus, and the chosen angels to be impartial when you follow what I’ve told you. Never play favorites.”
I find that I still have a tendency to drift toward my “favorites”. I have to keep a solemn and prayerful watch to walk in the full truth and balance of God’s Word. One of the ways I have found that helps me do this is to read through a new version of the Bible, using an unmarked Bible, each year. This way, I am abiding in the “whole counsel” of God’s Word, and I avoid falling back on marked “promise” verses from my past that block me from seeing the “truth” that I need for the present.
Like a high wire performer I need to keep the balancing rod of truth and love always in hand, and I need to “never play favorites”!
Lord, search my heart this morning. Help me to walk in the full counsel of Your Word in truth and love. If I have begun to move off balance, guide me by Your Spirit back into a walk that honors Your Word and uses honesty and integrity in its interpretation and application.
Keep me from presumptuous sins and “hobby horse” theologies.
In Jesus Name!