Happy Thanksgiving, Peeps!
I love Thanksgiving. I get to spend time with family members that I haven’t seen in months. And I have a colorful family. There’s a whole lot of personality, attitude and humor in the space when we get together. I say that affectionately…most of the time. My Aunt Toni is responsible for the “programming”, word used loosely, for the mini family reunion. Our tradition used to be to go around the table and share at least one thing that you’re thankful for…before we ate. But over the years, as our family continues to grow, that got a little lengthy and the food would be cold by the time we finished. So, now we get in our circle of gratitude after dinner.
Ah, Thanksgiving dinner. What a gluttonous affair! Did I mention that my family can throw down in the kitchen? The Turkey isn’t the star on our dinner table. Actually, I’m not sure what the star dish is. It could be my mom’s mac n cheese. Or my Aunt Toni’s sweet potato pies, or maybe my Aunt Elaine’s fried corn.
They can cook and I can eat! But I’m picky. I can’t eat just anyone’s mac n cheese. Sometimes, multiple family members bring the same dish and I find myself going up and down the disjointed food line, trying to determine whom the cook is/was before I scoop it onto my plate.
That’s how many of us are with the Bible. We decide what we like and don’t like before we “scoop” it on/into our life. We contemplate whether it’s a truth for our lives today or just for the folks living in the ancient of days. We read the Word and add our own qualifiers to justify our actions and beliefs, as opposed to adjusting our actions because we believe –He is Lord.
Not sure what I mean? I know this isn’t you, but I’ve heard others say things like:
- I will never forgive him/her/that. God understands.
- I’m over 40 years old, if I wait to be married to have sex, I may never have sex.
- I don’t believe God will send anyone to Hell for ______. Name your “acceptable” sin.
- Healing and the other gifts of the Spirit don’t exist anymore.
- The Bible is thousands of years old, outdated and irrelevant. Society has progressed and evolved. You can’t apply a 2000+ year-old text to today’s life experiences.
Have you heard the same? Have you said the same?
The Bible is the infallible Word of God. Yes, written by men but wholly inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit. We can’t treat the Word of God like a Thanksgiving buffet line, cherry-picking what we will believe or what fits our lifestyle.
I confess and agree that not everything in the Word is easy or even desirable. It is hard to love those that hate you. It is challenging to respect a husband that does not seemingly love you like Christ loves Church. It is tempting to not wait for marriage before “testing” the goods.
A committed walk in Christ is about giving up this life. But it’s for a better life, to be experienced in this lifetime.
We do ourselves a grave disservice when we edit the bible for life conveniences and preferences. We deceive ourselves if we think that God has conformed, evolved to today’s culture. If you believe He is good and loves you all the way to the grave and back, then can you also believe that every thing He says ‘no’ to is because He wants to say ‘yes’ to something bigger, better; Something more fruitful, life fulfilling and permanent?
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, because he preferred to endure the hardship of the people of God rather than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of the Christ [that is, the rebuke he would suffer for his faithful obedience to God] to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt; for he looked ahead to the reward [promised by God]. Hebrews 11:24-26 AMPLIFIED
Jesus tells us in Mark 10, paraphrased, that anyone who gives up the pleasures and the comforts of this world for Jesus will receive a hundred times as much now…in the present day…today, and in the age to come, referring to heaven.
That’s a biblical promise. You can have heaven now, today. But you have to choose to believe that. You have to put it on your plate. Scoop generously!