Often in our culture, we are encouraged to think outside the box. In the arena of creativity, this means to attempt what has never been done. In business, it means to lay aside convention for the prospect of growth. In a postmodern society, we are encouraged to define our own truth and to allow that “truth” to be dynamic–constantly shifting to meet the times. Progress, it seems, is all about revolutionary ideas that don’t submit to an established norm.
For the Christian, the same dynamic approach may be true in our efforts to reach the lost, to advance the gospel, or to serve the community we are in. But when it comes to our progress in maturity and being established in his word, we must be careful to stay within the confines of God’s truth. I want to confidently and obediently think inside the box of God’s Holy Scripture.
I have found that when I struggle with a particular temptation or find myself in a season of suffering, I must strive to stay within the parameters God has revealed to me through the Bible. It is when I wander outside the walls of His truth that my confidence is shaken, my mind is more susceptible to the enemy’s lies, and I allow anxiety and stress to greatly influence the quality of my life; I view these parameters as walls that I dare not cross, keeping me obedient to Him and confident in what He says.
We have begun to look at the book of Ephesians during our Sunday services at the Crossing campus. The past two weeks Nate and Gary have helped to identify some benefits God has given to His people. It has helped me to view these benefits as parameters that I want to incorporate into my inner life.
No matter what comes, no matter the situation, no matter my emotional response I can always bank on these truths:
1. I have a privileged standing before Him (Eph. 1:4)
2. I have a Father-son, family relationship with Him (Eph 1:5-6)
3. I have a forever forgiveness from Him (Eph. 1:7)
4. I have “insider” truth about the purpose and end of human history (Eph. 1:8-10)
5. In Christ, I am a co-inheritor of the riches of Eternal Life (Eph. 1:11-12)
6. I have the Holy Spirit as a guarantee (Eph. 1:13-14)
So when life comes at me and reminds me of my weakness, I remember that I have a Father who, no matter what, sees me as a son. Or when the enemy whispers to me of my guilt, I remember that the forgiveness given to me at the cross is perfect and never-fading. Or when the situation seems insurmountable, I recognize that God has a purpose and a plan – both for me and for His Kingdom and glory. When there is temptation or suffering, I can rest within the boundaries of these walls and not wander away from His perfect truth. And Scripture is filled with these types of promises, insights, and realities. Let’s make it our goal to take hold of them. To cling to them. To live within them.
Author: Charlie Meng, Teaching Pastor @ the Crossing campus