Wednesday, June 17, 2020

For Believers: The Truth Hurts

The Word hurts.

If reading your Bible doesn't hurt once in awhile, you're reading it wrong.

I don't like that statement any more than you do. But if you believe in the God of the Bible, you have to also believe what the Bible says. And it is clear:

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12

Now, I haven't personally experienced a super sharp sword slicing my joints apart from my marrow, but I suspect it is painful. Maybe even the kind of pain that puts childbirth to shame. The kind of pain that could even end life

Does the Bible not say that when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, the old is gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)? Do we think this is a pain-free process?

Does not my word burn like fire? Says the Lord. Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces? Jeremiah 23:29

Scripture wasn't written to make you feel all warm and gooey inside. It is Truth, and as the old adage goes: Truth Hurts. It penetrates to our most sensitive spots. It burns us up and breaks us to pieces. It brings us to the end of ourselves where all we are is a pile of ashes. 

It is only here, at the end of ourselves and in a posture of repentance, that we can truly see the Word for who He is:

Jesus is the Word.

It's super annoying when unbelievers try to tell Christians what Jesus would or would not have done in any given situation. But you know what's waaaay worse? When Christians agree. 

If the narrative bouncing around in your head is eerily similar, if not exactly the same, to the narrative permeating the world, notice the huge red flag in front of your face. God's wisdom is entirely different from the world's (1 Corinthians 1:25; Isaiah 55:8-9). And God's way is narrow. Few tread the way to life. If you find that you're swimming along with the masses, it's time to do some serious evaluating.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13-14
That said, who do you believe Jesus is? Have you bought into the worldly narrative that Jesus was some kind of super friendly pushover who always left people feeling happy and unoffended? Because he wasn't that kinda guy when he roamed the earth. And he's still not. He stepped on toes everywhere he went. He never "itched ears" with fluffy nonsense. He always spoke truth. And people--just like us--killed him for it. (Check out this post about times Jesus was not nice.)

Revelations tells us that when Jesus returns, out of his mouth will be a two-edged sword and his face will shine bright as the sun (1:16; 2:12). When Jesus speaks, people will die. The Word hurts.   

John tells us that Jesus IS the Word. He IS the truth. ("I am the way, the truth, and the life..." "Sanctify them in the truth. Your Word is truth.") If we call ourselves believers, that means we recognize that we are sinners--ashes--in desperate need of a Savior. It hurts to admit such a thing. It hurts to believe Jesus. 

There is hope in the Word.

I'm a "truther." (Surprised?) And as such, I'm sure I'm coming across a little... in-your-face. So I'm going to interrupt myself here and talk about another very important aspect of the Word (aka Jesus): Hope. 

Yes, the truth hurts. But why? Yes, it cuts deep and burns us up and breaks us to pieces and examines our dark and ugly hearts. But why? 

To change us.

To make us more like Jesus. 

To equip us to reach the world for God.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Refiner's fire hurts. But when the Bible says something that pokes us all uncomfortable like, we can rest in the hope that it is God at work in us, to will and to work for his good pleasure. Oh what beauty He can create when we are moldable clay! 

We hold the Word.

Here's the crux. The climax. The grand finale. The real reason I'm writing this post.

We, as believers, wield the sword that is the Word of God.

We are not commanded in Ephesians 6 to put on the full armor of God so we can be pacifists. We aren't supposed to strap on the belt of truth then cover it in glue and glitter to make it more pleasurable for the eyes. We aren't supposed to plaster our breastplate of righteousness with stickers or exchange our Gospel shoes for fluffy socks. There's flaming darts coming at us! A down-filled pillow isn't gonna cut it. We must put on the helmet of our salvation, not a rainbow colored hat.

Guys, it's time to pull out that sword--the Word of God--and wield it. Not flail it around. Not leave it motionless at our side. Not stuck in the scabbard where it won't poke anyone. Wield it with skill. With precision. With know-how. And if you don't know how, learn! 

When you learn the Word, even when it hurts, then you will see when falsehoods are running amuck whether that be in Christians around you or even within your own heart. You will spot the false teachers that are, by the way, in abundance. Test everything and hold fast to what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21), even especially when it hurts.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming [is already here!] when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:1-4

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