Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hey, Look Over There!

(Submitted by Kerry Patton)  
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 

Misdirection…it’s how a magician manages to make the yellow ball suddenly appear from under an empty cup.  He shows us the empty cup without showing the ball he is holding in the palm of the same hand.  Then, he gets us looking at something he’s doing with the other hand and quickly lays the ball on the table and covers it up with the cup in a single motion.  We don’t see it because we are looking in a different direction.

It happens to us every day actually.  We may look right past our keys when our eyes lock onto something else nearby, so we spend an extra two or three minutes trying to find what may be in plain sight.  We may accidentally pull out in front of someone in traffic, having looked right in their direction, but never seeing them; or stare straight at a dear friend in a public place, but not recognize him or her because they are not in the geographical context we usually find them.  Misdirection.  It causes us to not see what is plainly in front of us.

What about Scriptural misdirection?
Scriptural misdirection happens.  The devil doesn’t want us to comprehend the Bible.  He may distract us with one part of a passage by locking us in on another.  The passage from 2 Timothy chapter 3 above may be one of the most important places we can become misdirected when it comes to our daily Christian lives:  “All Scripture is inspired by God…” …and we usually stop reading right about there.  You see, we agree with that.  And it’s a good thing too!  To disagree with God’s inspiration of scripture throws all of Christianity into destructive imbalance. 

Without God’s inspiration, scripture becomes empty of promise and devoid of authority.  Without authority and promise, scripture is merely ‘good advice’ along the same lines as “buy low, sell high” and “wash your hands before eating.”  It is no longer “The Living Word of God.”  Without God’s inspiration, scripture is relegated to another collection of man’s words; just a book.  So, it is important that we invest ourselves and our faith in 2 Timothy 3:16 and come to hold it as true.  It is important to believe that Scripture is God inspired.

But hold on…believe it or not, to focus on that first part and not fulfill the latter is to fall victim to misdirection!  Satan would LOVE for us to merely agree that Scripture is God inspired provided that the story ends right there.  He doesn’t want us to make application of the words that follow!  All Scripture is inspired by God…” Yes…AND?  So what?  What good is it?  Why does it need to be God inspired?  What are WE to DO with that fact?  Let’s read the two verses again in their entirety: 
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

BECAUSE scripture is inspired by God, it is uniquely sufficient and effective to fulfill its purpose for our lives.  We are to be transformed by the Word of God.  We are to be taught by it.  We are to apply it (first and foremost) to ourselves…and THEN to others! 

Consider the following questions:
·     Am I receiving the reproof of scripture and obeying its correction?
·     Am I a devoted student of the inspired Word of God given to us…Is it bringing me into an understanding of God, of His love for humanity, and into an ever deepening relationship with his Son Jesus?
·     Through the Word of God, am I being CHANGED into the image of the Living Christ? 
·     Am I being appropriately trained in righteousness?
·     Am I, from this training, in turn training others? 

The fact that scripture is inspired by God means that it is authoritative and effective to do exactly those things in our lives.  If however, we merely agree with the words of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and do not dedicate ourselves to realizing them in our own lives, then we have no business, nor qualification toward applying them to others. 

Do not be misdirected.  The Bread of Life will make you strong, but buying and having it is not enough.  You have to get it into you for it to help you grow!

Scripture to Claim:
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
I have suffered much;
preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.
Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.
Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.
The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your precepts.
Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
My heart is set on keeping your decrees
to the very end.

 Psalm 150:105-112

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