If you’re like me and often find yourself picking out problems in today’s churches, one thing that you may like to focus on is the choices of Bible passages people use when giving a talk, writing an article, and the like: or namely, the Scripture that ends up being used more commonly.
Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 139, Genesis 1:26-27…
These and all the other ones we seem to come over so. many. times. that in our pride we’ll think we already know it, that God doesn’t have anything else to say, because we’ve all heard it already.
But what happened to “The word of God is living and active…” (Hebrews 4:12)?
Then there’s the temptation to feel that the person using that particular passage is just going with the flow and not really thinking for themselves, and that their faith must not be very strong as a result.
So in the end, this thinking usually comes down to plain ol’ pride in thinking that 1) God’s Word is overrated and 2) that we’re better than other Christians.
Now I know that in the past, I’ve written posts that talk about how phrases or concepts are repeated too much in the church, but today, I want to turn the tables and talk about how, in the case of Bible verses we come into all the time, the consistent repetition can actually be a good thing.
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)
A simple example
Now my family and I are preparing for a several-month stay overseas, and so I’ve been packing and preparing. (*hopes that this post won’t turn out too long so she can get back to it*) And that involves the deciding to bring, organization of, and
cramming arranging all kinds of clothes, cosmetics, notebooks, and sentimental items into a luggage that I felt was very small for the occasion.
I told myself I could manage the small space, but I kept failing, and my frustration was building.
After (the fourth instance) I spent a period of time sitting around stressed, something my dad had said about stress came back to me: that it had to do with worry. Now I thought, what’s a verse that talks about worry…?
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-32)
Even though it presented an obvious command (that I was failing to keep at that moment), I also found God’s truth to be incredibly comforting.
Now is the fact that I remembered this instantly due to all the (very very numerous) times I have read through Matthew 6, or this verse’s presence in tons of Christian media today? Certainly, seeing this verse all the time played a part.
Walk the Talk
Obviously, when focusing on certain verses that make us feel good and less offended by the hard truths of the Bible, the pitfall is that we fail to read the rest of the Bible and have a more well-rounded perspective. I’m not saying that we should live our lives by one or two verses; read all of the Bible, by all means, and love all of God’s amazing mysteries.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).
But thinking Oh, Psalm 139 again. Lame… isn’t the way to go, either.
The reality is that all too often, we condemn the commonplace use of verses when living them out isn’t very commonplace in our lives. We’ve become hypocrites, preferring to look down on others when we ought to be examining ourselves, and living out what we always are talking about.
It’s really hard to move the critical focus from others onto ourselves. But by God’s grace, it’s what has to be done. In this light, even “overrated” Scripture can transform us when we stop scorning it.
I challenge you today to think about one or two places in Scripture you might think is quoted way too often. In what situations can you apply these well-known truths to your own life?