If the sign at the store said “buy one get one free” that would insinuate an action on our part in order to receive the free item. But what if the sign only said “get one free”? We wouldn’t, at least most of us, assume that we didn’t first have to buy something. Sure it’s the store’s fault for not advertising correctly that you must buy one to get the free one, but our common sense would tell us that there is more to it. A good consumer would count the cost even if the sign did have the whole statement.
So why don’t we approach scripture that way? Why is it so hard for us to put God’s Word into context?
I made the trip down to the gulf coast at the end of last week to assist with search and rescue after Hurricane Harvey. The drive there was an intense and emotional experience since we had no idea what we were about to encounter. At one point in the journey, we passed a building with Joshua 1:9 on it and that brought that scripture into our conversation. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”. A few times we prayed as a group and prayed that very verse.
That night I read Joshua 1 and meditated on that verse. In doing so, God showed me that was only a part of the context. It was only half of the statement God made to Joshua. In order to get the whole context we must start back at verse 6 and read through 9. Just like the “buy one get one free” sign, there is an action. Joshua had to follow God’s law; he had to do everything that was written not just part of it.
There is action on our part that is required in order for God bless us. There is action on our part in order for God to use us. It’s more than a prayer. It is more than church attendance. We must die to ourselves in order to live for Christ. We must repent and turn from our wicked ways and pursue Jesus.
A lot of us have been tricked and swindled into thinking that our life doesn’t have to change. That we can live the same lifestyle as we did before Christ and be ok.
Jesus wants to turn your life upside-down. I think about emptying a bag – that’s just what Jesus wants to do. He wants to turn us upside-down and shake out all of the worldly ways – all the things that separate us from Him. He can’t do that if we think we’re ok just how we are, right where we’re at.
We must check the scriptures for ourselves. We must read the whole statement and not just listen to the good stuff. The Bible was given to us for more than direction but also correction. The Holy Spirit was sent to us for guidance and correction.
God does not intend for us to remain in our sin. But He is also not going to force us out of it. We must be diligent and intentional about our walk with God. It’s not always going to be easy but in the end it will most definitely be worth it.
We are in this fight together and I pray my past experiences help guide you in the right direction. If you ever need guidance, prayer or just someone to talk to, we are always available.