Living in the 21st century, compared to the 20 that came before, has many advantages. Well, maybe I should put that a different way. Life is much easier now than it used to be. We have nice conveniences like refrigerators, air conditioning, and in-door plumbing.
We also live in a world with an abundance of options. As Burger King likes to remind us, we can have it our way. They, of course, are talking about their hamburgers, but the same can be said of basically anything in life right now. Which is great when it comes to what we eat and what clothes we want to wear, but in other instances, not so much.
Mainly, what I am speaking to here is the Bible. When it comes to The Word of God, we do not get to have it our way. We can’t pick and choose the parts we like and just forget about those we don’t like. I know it may be difficult to hear this, but it’s the truth. (Side note, we also can't take verses out of context.)
We can’t decide that we love and agree with one part and completely disregard others. There is a purpose and reason for every single thing that is in the Bible. Nothing is there by chance.
Now, I must mention to you how important it is to study and truly learn and know your Bible. The Old Testament laws are very different from the New Testament laws. You are doing yourself a vast disservice if you don’t know and understand the difference. I urge you to spend time in The Word every day. Spend time with God. Find a group of people and study the Word and discuss it together!
The Old Testament is the foundation for the New Testament. Think of the Old Testament as your great-grandparents and yourself as the New Testament. You would not be here with your great-grandparents. You can’t have the new without the old.
Now, if you would like to get a better, basic understanding of the differences between the Old and New Testament laws, you should read this great article by Courtney Joseph, called Do Christians Pick and Choose Which Parts of Scripture We Apply? Courtney explains the Old and New Testaments laws in an easy-to-understand fashion.
Listen, I am sharing this with you because I need to hear it myself. It can be disconcerting knowing that we must accept every facet of the Bible—that we can’t take what we like from it and leave what we don’t. But, as any good parent who loves their children, God uses “tough love” on us so that we can grow into the people we are meant to be. And, there are tons of places where we need His tough love.
As I have talked about in other posts, if we are to grow spiritually, there will be growing pains. (See Grow Up and Growing Pains.) And, if we are to become who God truly means for us to be, we have to go through a refining process. That is just part of our journey.
Right now we are living in exhausting times. 2020 has been complicated and trying for all of us. There are many people I see either on TV or via social media that I do not like very much. Now, the Bible doesn’t say we must agree with them, but we must love them.
Personally, I have a hard time with this--a very hard time. As a matter of fact, I grapple with 1 John 4:20 often. That verse says, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” To be honest, after seeing some of my brothers and sisters and how they act and treat others, it makes it easy for me NOT to love them. And, I must confess, I can act pretty horribly towards others myself at times. Pretty ironic, isn’t it?
But, the Bible tells us to love God and love others. Actually, those are the two greatest commandments in the Bible. Matthew 22:37-40 tells us, “And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
However, when we learn to look past each other’s differences and start looking at others with our hearts, we learn to be more like Jesus. And, as Christians, isn’t that what we want? To be like Jesus? I know that is what I want! More than anything else in this world!
And, this is why we must learn that every aspect of the Bible is important. This is why we must accept the Bible as it is--we can't have it our way. If we did have the Bible our way, we would be missing out on steps that are vital to our spiritual growth. And, I don't know about you, but I want to be as complete as possible.
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.