Pastor’s Corner: “Small View or Big View?”
Isaiah 45:5-7 (NASB) – 5 I am the Lord, and there is no one else; There is no God except Me. I will arm you, though you have not known Me, 6 So that people may know from the rising to the setting of the sun, That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no one else, 7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating disaster; I am the Lord who does all these things.
All too often, we Christians in our culture can become narcissistic and self-absorbed, always talking about our needs and problems. We search Scriptures only to seek a better understanding of ourselves. Instead of opening its pages to look for God and his face, we are stuck in a rut of skimming the Bible for what it has to say about us. This gives us a very limited and constrained view of our world and God Himself.
Maybe you can relate? Do you typically find yourself running to your Bible for comfort, reason, or wisdom? I know I do! God’s Word is certainly for all of those things, and we do well to make it our first place of refuge when we are dealing with troubles, pains, challenges, and difficult decisions. However, should this become our only reason for opening its pages? We’ve given way to the lie that the Bible is purely about our consolation and personal improvement. Yes, it speaks to comfort us in affliction. And yes, it encourages us with the truth of our new identity in Christ—but it is so, so much more than that!
Our tendency is to put God at the center of our universe and treat Him as a sort of crystal ball or magic genie who is all about us and our happiness. The problem is, this makes for a much smaller God than the one represented in the Bible. The most powerful perspective change we can have is to echo the sentiments of John the Baptist who said of Jesus, “he must increase, and I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
If we’re to read the Bible with awe and wonder, we must abandon personal agendas and look for God’s glory between the lines. In my life, I have been kindly reminded by Holy Spirit that it isn’t always about me. We can become so prone to bringing our own agenda to our bible reading that we miss out on God’s glory, regardless of how clearly it is demonstrated in the text. We often miss what God is telling us through scripture because He is showing us Himself and the beauty and order of His greatness, not just answering our questions.
Don’t always approach the Word to feel better about yourself—but to better know the love of God. If you’re looking to add more enjoyment into your personal Bible reading, why not take a break from self-serving agendas and shift your focus onto falling more in love with your Father in heaven? Here are some questions you can start asking yourself as you move through the pages: What does this Scripture say about the character and/or heart of God? How does this Scripture reveal God’s glory and majesty? How does seeing God’s character/glory/heart in this passage help me grow in my trust and love of Him?
Don’t get me wrong: if you are dealing with a season of difficulty, seeking the Scriptures for the comfort of Christ is of tremendous benefit. Yet there is equal benefit from getting to know God more and developing a firmer grasp on who He truly is as revealed in his Word. As we grow up in Christ, we’ll find that growing in our love of the Lord means to come to know his character more concretely. And funny enough, seeing him more clearly in the Word typically leads to a better understanding of ourselves.
In His Grace,