Usury

Vol. 7, No. 03 – January 23, 2022

O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you. –1 Timothy 6:20-21

Some people memorize Scriptures so they can be looked upon as great Christians.

So, if They read the Book, memorize large swathes of the Book, become a “go-to” guy/gal for what the Book says, they have it all together. Right? No.

I can let the things I know and the things I do become an obsession in my life. How I put things in my heart makes a difference in how I think, how I speak, and how I act.

Did you notice all the “I” statements?

The Bible is a great book. God has given it to us. Have you noticed in the Scriptures that some twist what God says for their own purposes? True. If God had spoken the Bible into existence, He would have pronounced it “good.” Just as His other creative acts. He chooses fallible humans to write the Book, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

So, rather than referencing the Scriptures for God’s story, His instruction, His provision of grace and mercy, or His sacrifice of His Son for our sake, there are those who use the Bible to inflate their ego. In other words, the Bible becomes a part of their idol worship. The idol is themselves.

Some look in the mirror a lot because they view themselves as an art form.

See, idols can be anything. Boat. Ride. House. Fame. Philosophy. Pagan religion. We can fill in some other forms. If someone seeks God for any reason other than Himself, they are deficient. If a person moves along in life just asking momentary questions to solve their own ego situations, the question is insufficient. It is like using God as our personal bell boy. It becomes an accumulation of just another god.

God wants that our questions are uttered for the purpose of our relationship with Him. We tend to forget that relationship part. We grab the Bible as a tool to address our difficulty; a problem solver while by-passing the open door to our almighty God, full of grace, mercy, and love.

Why would we want to, or fall into the trap of, substituting for holy God, our way of “solving” our questions? Why?

While serving as a pastor, it was not uncommon for people to call for a recommendation for professional counseling. I offered (and still do) counsel at no charge; biblical counseling. They are stunned, not so much that it is free, but at the lack of my recommending “professional counseling.

It is a by-product of our culture and a by-product of our educational system. Just listen to the younger generation for a few moments. It is not God who they are drawn to seek, it is the professional of the day. Many attempts to find ways of success (answers for their problems in life) that work just as well as or better than Christianity is the order of the day.

If they identify as a Christian (to use a current term), they are often misguided. Biblically, Christianity, rightly, is a term that has as its foundation a valid faith. The Bible has the guidance necessary for living out our lives in view of our questions; God Himself makes His Word plain to us. If our Christianity is real to us because it only addresses our problems the way we want, our Christianity is quite shallow and is perhaps not Christianity at all. It may be counterfeit.

Life Application

When we seek to have the Bible solve our problems in the way we want, or we are not interested, it may well be not so much the work of Satan, but the divulgence of how far modern Christianity has moved from the biblical instruction, from God’s expectations.

We need to evaluate what we bring into our lives as a substitute for holy God. The Shema had it right, as Jesus noted in Mark 12. The love of God is central to Christianity. Those who have a relationship with God ask Him questions, for they know where there are valid answers. Still, it holds the value of a personal relationship.

If the answers we get from God bring us to focus only on the answers and not the relationship, we endanger ourselves to the suppression of that relationship and use God as our bell boy. It is not a relationship; it is usury.

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