It has been a tough week for me. I have been fighting off a disabling cold. I go a little stir crazy when I can’t do anything because I am physically wiped out and feel so terrible I don’t want to move. So, between sleeping and more sleeping I spent some time trying to find remedies, especially a way to stop the nonstop dry cough. What I discovered was that something that I believed was true may not be true. I learned that cough medicines cannot be proven to be effective; although that is the first medicine we reach for when we are sick.
This emphasized what I focused on this past Sunday in my message “Is the Bible True?” as part of our The God Questions series. I was reminded of the word of Jesus “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) I believe Jesus’ emphasis is on what He eventually did for us by dying on the cross as the payment for our sins and resurrecting from the grave demonstrating He was God. The Bible clearly teaches that by accepting these truths, known as the gospel, all of the benefits of Jesus’ sacrifice are applied to our life. These benefits include the forgiveness of sin, becoming a new person and becoming a child of God, to name a few. And by embracing this truth we are set free from bondage to a religion of good works. When we know the truth we are set free!
The truth of Jesus’ statements and teaching also remind us of how His teaching will help us in every area of our lives. Now, the Bible does not tell us how to change the oil in our car, but it does reveal the true nature of God and man and it speaks to how we can develop a relationship with God. It provides practical instructions on how we can change and guides us in our interactions with others. It is by applying these truths that we can experience freedom in these other areas of our life.
The more time you spend reading your Bible you will observe that God’s Word often encourages us to do the opposite of what we might naturally do. The natural response leads to greater bondage, but applying God’s truth leads to freedom. Let’s take the example of conflict with another person. This could be conflict in the home between a husband and wife, it could be conflict in the extended family, it could be conflict with a neighbor, co-worker, boss, employee or even the person that cuts you off on the freeway. And let’s make the nature of this conflict that you have been hurt by this other person through something they have said, or something they have done. Now, if you are like me, the desire can be to return the hurt. Our response can manifest itself as anger, resentment, and even a desire to retaliate. I’ve heard it said, “I don’t get mad, I get even.” Yet what we fail to grasp is the getting even only leads us to bondage by continuing the conflict. The bondage can also be in the form of bitterness that begins to ruin our perspective in other areas of our life. What I want us to see is that if we respond by letting our emotions dictate our actions or even by listening to our friends, it often leads us to greater bondage. Notice how the Bible encourages us to respond, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21) God’s word encourages us to break the cycle of conflict by responding with good. Now you need to read the previous verses (Romans 12:9-20) for some ideas of how to do this. The more I study my Bible, the more I come to realize how when I put God’s truth into practice it really does bring freedom in my life and in my relationships, first with God, then with myself and others.
It was only through my recent research on cold remedies that I learned of the question of cough syrup’s effectiveness. It is only by learning God’s Word and then putting it into practice that I discover God’s blessings for my life. This is why I need the Bible and so do you!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson