“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.” -- Soren Kierkegaard
Question from Brian Mashburn: “What is your definition of ‘Biblical Depth’?”
Answer from Kerry Shook: “Someone has Biblical Depth when they read the Bible and they don’t know any better than to do it.”
All week I have been in some turmoil over the series I will be preaching on over the next couple of months.
We are calling it: “Heart Attacks: Seeking the Person Behind the Behavior”. We are trying to call attention to the blatantly obvious teaching of the Bible that God is after the hearts of men, not merely their behavior, and we should be too. This truth affects every stinkin’ relationship so dramatically that it is very intimidating for me to preach the series. I have put so much stock in my behavior towards God (and others) that the simple truth that He really wants my heart scares me.
I’m supposed to shepherd the hearts of my children, not their behavior.
I’m supposed to be after the heart of my wife, not “be a good husband”.
I’m supposed to minister to the hearts of my parents, not complain about what they did or didn’t do.
I’m supposed to love the hearts of all mankind, not merely “give the lost a certain set of information.”
I’m supposed to remember that there is a wounded heart in my enemy, not merely react to my enemies attacks on me.
And most of all, I’m supposed to walk in the authority that my heart is surrendered to God, not merely “follow God’s rules”.
For some, the call to give their heart to God disarms them. They, in the face of their “condemning” behavior and can’t seem to imagine changing it, seem relieved when the starting point is to give God their hearts so that He can in turn give them a new one.
For us religious folks, though, it’s totally different. We have conformed our behavior and feel secure in it, so the idea of having to rework and rethink what is pleasing to God is hard. In addition to having to change everything in our thoughts and actions, we struggle with thinking that we have to condemn those who have taught us what we think now, and we love them way too much to do that. So we hide in the safety of our beliefs that it is our beliefs that save us, rather than a personal, relational, powerful God who will bypass our heads, our actions, our behaviors, and go straight for our hearts to see if He knows it.
God save us. Solomon told us that God has set eternity in the hearts of men, and we religious folks look for it in their minds. God save us from such small existence. Give us the dread that we must face by being alone with You, alone with Your Word, and give us the salvation from smaller things through it.