All of the Bible–the Salty and the Sweet…
One of the reasons God gave us the Bible is to encourage us (Romans 15:4).
But not everything in the Bible is immediately encouraging;
that is, not everything in the Bible is
- easy to hear,
- easy to swallow,
- easy to digest,
- easy to believe,
- easy to live-out,
- easy to agree with.
Yes, there are some Christians who take this to an extreme—
they are constantly screaming at one thing or another,
they are constantly critiquing and thundering against something,
they are coaches who constantly give laps without a moment to drink some water.
They see themselves as “always hammers” and everything they see is “always a nail.”
And yet, the other extreme is to only focus on the Bible verses/passages
that immediately make us feel good,
that quickly soothe and comfort us,
that we can easily agree with,
that leave us feeling great about the current state of our character, beliefs & lifestyle.
The fans of this extreme often run from Bible verses/passages that
- pinch (like a vaccination),
- cut (like a surgeon’s scalpel),
- tear down (like the first step towards rebuilding),
- diagnose illness and disease (like the first step towards healing).
Yes, the Bible says those who have accepted Jesus as our Savior are God’s children,
but we will also be disciplined for our own good (Hebrews 12:4-13);
Yes, the Bible says God loves us unconditionally,
but we also must die to self and take up our cross to follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24-25);
Yes, the Bible says that joy comes in the morning,
but it also says that there will be pain in the night (Psalm 30:5).
Yes, the Bible says that the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord,
but it also says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)
and without accepting Jesus all will receive that terrible paycheck and pension.
Yes, the Bible says that we will be lifted up by God,
but it also says this for those who humble themselves under God’s mighty hand (1 Peter 5:6).
- A sturdy house must be built with nails of steel, not of plastic;
- A sturdy house cannot be built with soft glue but with hard nails;
- A sturdy house must be built with hammers of iron, not of Styrofoam.
Yes, Jesus stands at the door and patiently knocks,
ready at a moment’s notice to lovingly enter
and Personally eat forever with those who will invite Him in (Revelation 3:20);
but He will not only eat with us but also make us new (Revelation 21:5)—
rehabilitate us like an old house, as it were—using
- Sharp saws to cut and re-size;
- Broad shovels to dig up and unearth;
- Powerful wrecking balls to tear down;
- Rough sandpaper to smooth and refine;
- Heavy sledgehammers to knock down walls;
- Solid bricks baked strong in a flaming furnace;
- Abrasive chemicals to eliminate insect infestation.
God does love us as we are,
but He loves us too much to leave us this way,
just as skilled surgeons not only gently hold patients’ hands
but also ruthlessly cut out the cancerous tumor growing inside them.
Both actions—the gentle holding and the ruthless cutting—
are needed to qualify as true love,
thus God’s Word does both.
Hebrews 4:12-13: 12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
We want “every day to be a Friday,”
but God wants to teach us to praise Him on Mondays.
We want every bite to be dessert,
but God wants to teach us to enjoy the vegetables He lovingly prepares for us.
We want heaven now,
but God wants to teach us to sacrificially love & serve others within a yard of hell.
We want to greet others (who are easy to love) with a holy kiss,
but God wants to teach us to humbly turn the other cheek to those who hit us.
We want to be pardoned/forgiven,
but God wants to teach us first to see ourselves as guilty
of treason and rebellion (of sins, not mistakes) against God Himself.
We want to be accepted by God the Father,
but God wants to teach us to believe in Jesus
Who was rejected by God His Father in our place.
We want to focus only on heaven,
but God wants to also teach us to believe there is a literal place
for those who refuse to enter heaven through God’s graciously unlocked front door.
May the Holy Spirit help us to
- agree with,
- and live-out
ALL of His Words In His Word,
both the sweet and the salty,
both the dessert and the vegetables.
“For I did not keep from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27 MEV).