Another strong characteristic of a missional person is that they are completely committed to the inerrant, infallible Scripture as the source of life. The truth is, if we don’t believe it is the source of and sufficient for all of life then a few things will happen that will cause us to be ineffective in the lives we live. Those things that will happen are as follows:
1) We will live by our emotions and feelings. First hear what I am saying not what I am not saying – God gave us feelings and emotions, all you have to do is read the books of Psalms, Lamentations, Song of Solomon, and read the emotions of Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses, Paul, Peter, and even Jesus. Emotions and feelings are valid, but they were never meant to lead us, I am sure Moses would agree, as it was being led by his emotions that kept him from the Promised Land.
We see this happen a lot when our security, way of life as we know it, passions, and even family come into play. How many parents are willing to exalt their kids to the point they will over ride, compromise, or even ignore scripture so they don’t have to discipline, confront or even deny their children what their little angels long for. For instance, how easy is it for a parent to say, about a bad behavior, “I don’t know why they act that way…” As opposed to saying, “My child’s life just proves that we are depraved and full of sin, because he/she is depraved and full of sin.” And then discipline that sin! How many parents have I seen say, “We are to teach our children to respect their parents, so I will make my kids say things like, ‘yes sir’ , ‘yes mama’ etc, etc…” as the child kicks, screams, and yells at their parents…yet they deceive themselves, because these children are not respecting their parents, but these parents are doing a disservice to their children as they help them continue in their sin nature, due to idolizing their children and not confronting the real issues of the heart.
How many married couples have I seen override or not pay attention to scripture all in the name of ‘making-peace’ in their home and not making their spouse mad, because they would rather avoid the ‘wrath’ of their spouse verses breaking the heart of God. Or people who allow their lives to ruled by feelings of doubt, fear, insecurity, and what they say is, I need council, I need medication, I need, I need, I need, and the truth is, the need to recognize that all the problem is, is that their feelings are more powerful, more believable, more truthful, than the very scriptures of God. I am not talking about momentary lapses, I am talking about those who allow their emotions to lead them and their lives are evident of it.
The challenge is learning how to make emotions follow scripture. The answer is a life of repentance, taking responsibility instead of blaming, and filling our minds with the way that scripture contradicts our misguided feelings – AGAIN, that is not to say that all feelings are misguided.
2) We will live and depend on logic and reasoning over scripture, or we will use our own logic and reasoning to interpret scripture thus creating a very selfish theology.
In other words, most people go into scripture…scratch that, all people go into scripture with a predetermined set of beliefs, and what we do is look for scriptures that back up what we already believe. Where as, if we would approach scripture with the true belief that God’s thoughts are really higher than ours, and that we only know in part, then I believe we would approach scripture with a more open mind, to first hear the voice of God, and not the voice of reason. We would allow the scriptures that seem to go against what we believe to confront us, and we would learn to, as Jacob did, wrestle with God as we wrestle and grapple with all scripture, after all, ALL scripture is God breathed, not just the parts that back up what we already believe.
Don’t get me wrong, like emotion and feeling, God gave us the ability to reason and gave us logic. But logic becomes sinful, when we choose to believe part of scripture and not the other. Logic becomes sinful when we are smarter than God, and we say, though God says such and such logic tells me that if I do this, then the result will be that – The bottom line is that in order to use logic and reasoning properly, we must make sure our heart is pure. Most of our logic and reason is geared toward selfish gain, but when our motivation is that in all our decisions, in all our earnings, in all our job moves, in all our giving, that God is more glorified and his will and kingdom is advanced, then our motive is right, and the only way to do this is to make sure our minds are full of scripture. Why? Because it is in our mind that reason and logic are produced, so if our mind is full of scripture, then our logic and reasoning will be based on scripture.
3) It will be easy to leave behind parts of it, in the name of engaging humanity. Again here what I am saying not what I am not saying. I believe we should be Theologically Conservative while being Culturally Liberal, as long as our life is NOT contradictory to or compromising of scriptures. It is scripture that the map to real truth and real hope is found. It is in scripture that we will find the guide to not compromising our values. It seems that right now the ‘forbidden’ fruit in the church is cultural compromise. The serpent comes to us, and says, “Look, you want to see the lives of people transformed, so does God. You want to see God’s name glorified, so does he. But in order to do this faster, you are going to have to compromise your values, your vision, and your morals…this is the only way people will even listen to you.” So we bite – we take the fruit, we bite it, and then offer the same apple to our congregations in the name of engaging the lost.
Why is this so tempting? We are told that the world calls us judgmental for having these values, these visions, and morals. This is only true, when we finish that statement with, “The world calls us judgmental for having these values, visions, and morals when we force and project them on them…” That statement is true, because what we are doing is attempting to force on them to live in a way of living that they CAN’T do, because they don’t know Christ. The truth is, we should live our lives loudly according to scripture, and let them see the freedom and wholeness that comes from the scriptures we live in. They will respect us for that if we DON’T seclude ourselves from them in a manner that says we are better. What we want is to live a life in front of them that they desire, then when they attempt to live that way, and only fail at it, we then have a perfect opportunity to agree with them, by saying, “I can’t live that way either – but through Jesus Christ and his guide in the scriptures is it possible.” The truth is the result that scripture produces in us should be what attracts the world to Jesus, not our willingness to be cultural through compromise….again, this is NOT to say that contextualization and culture aren’t important, the ENTIRE Bible proves that it is!
In closing let us realize that we are so creative, logical, educated, tolerant, cultural that in the name of prosperity, engagement, ‘love’, decision-making, or even logic we can so easily out think the scriptures. And therefore won’t address, deal with, or pay attention or wrestle with things that God thought worthy of his holy scriptures…
The scriptures are sufficient for life, not just Christian doctrine, a missional person lives as if he/she actually believes that!