Sometimes you come across something that grips you. It can be good or bad. You can’t get it off your mind for whatever reason. I had that happen last week. The previous week, I had been so burdened. My heart was heavy over so many things. I wept over various things happening in our country and in my own family. Some things were widely known across the media and some only a few knew. I was frustrated and had prayed for Jesus to remove this weight I knew I wasn’t meant to carry. So, I had listened to two of Rosaria Butterfield’s talks in my spare time. That means, I listened while I cooked, washed dishes and folded clothes. 🙂 As I was listening, I kept saying, “YES!” I really like this woman. She spoke so clearly and with honesty. In a time when there is so much wavering, it was so refreshing to hear someone share truth unashamed and without fear. Yet, there was compassion. She shared truth I knew but she said it so much better than I could ever say. I scratched down several quotes I wanted to remember, while I listened. Here is the one that I keep coming back to:
“Jesus is the word made flesh, and knowing that Jesus demands embracing the whole Bible, not the Jesus of my imagination, not the Jesus that would get whatever leftovers my flesh would permit.” Rosaria Butterfield
So, good, right? I honestly can’t wait to get some of her books. So, first, let’s look at where she gets the basis of her thought from, because that’s important. In John 1:1 it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John goes on to say in verse 14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” So, who is this “Word?” It’s pretty clear that the Word is Jesus. We learn that Jesus has always been from the beginning with God (also stated in verse 2), Jesus and God are one, and Jesus was made flesh to dwell among us. Knowing this Jesus, the Jesus, means knowing the Jesus of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
The reason this is so relevant, is because in our culture people claim to know Christ but they choose to not live by what He taught. They omit parts of scripture that offend their life. Maybe they twist it to make it say what they want, never looking up context, definitions or comparing it to the whole complete work of the Bible. When you twist and omit scripture and claim that Jesus said or did not say things that don’t line up with the Bible, you have made a Jesus of your own imagination. This is so very dangerous.
I think this is why I’ve been so weary recently. I’ve seen people who claim to know Christ twist His words. If parts of the Bible can be omitted, then according to them can it all be omitted? Which parts do we keep? The ones we like? How does that even make sense? If it’s not all true, then can any of it be true? And if only parts are true, who decides that? Following that train of thought means that any of it can be dismissed. I mean, we can essentially throw morality out the window because good and evil originates in scripture. Sure, anyone can choose to believe what they like but I argue that as a follower of the Word, it must be it all. This is why I say it’s dangerous to follow Jesus of your own making. A Jesus of your own imagination cannot save you. Only the Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus who said this, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
My heart is so burdened for truth to be proclaimed. I don’t have to defend Jesus in the sense that He can’t defend Himself, but I have been called to live and share His truth. To believers, we all have. The Bible offends. That’s why people don’t want to come to church or a Bible study with you invite them. They can have every excuse in the world but the reason they don’t come is that the Bible is offensive to them. It makes them uncomfortable. It made me uncomfortable and often still does! Christ was offensive. He didn’t get put on the cross for being every ones best friend.
Evil hates truth, even when told in compassion and love. It is only when perfect love redeems an evil heart, that a person can understand that kind of truth.
I spent time this morning over breakfast reminding my children that God and His word does not change. God does not tell someone something that contradicts His word. I told them that all of our thoughts about life should be tested by scripture. I want them to be sure of the firm foundation I pray they build their life on. The Bible is safe and steady. It is without error. It is the very words of God and has been preserved throughout the ages. It was written to mankind. To you. I pray your heart will burn within you and drive you to read what it has to say to you today. And may Jesus, the One and Only, reign in your heart.