Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (AMPLIFIED VERSION)
The centrality of the word of God (as contained in the bible) to the life of a Christian is without question very critical. The strength or otherwise of a Christian is directly proportional to the level of God’s word he has in his heart. The scriptures declare that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is not a product of age or race or sex. It is a product of the word of God: faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17).
Believers have a responsibility to accurately and skilfully interpret and apply the word of God. The will of God for His children is that we be thoroughly grounded by knowing His will and counsel concerning all matters (Colossians 1:9). This will has been revealed to us through His word. Our responsibility is to search it out through correct analysis under the guidance of the Holy Spirit whom he has given us to lead us into all truths.
Today, I want us to examine five scripture passages that are commonly misapplied in the light of our new creation realities in Christ Jesus.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9(KJV)
I have heard this scripture used by many to depict the hopelessness of the situation of man. If they had stopped there, I wouldn’t have complained. For scripture declares that the thoughts of the unregenerated man is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). But for the most time I have heard someone quote this scripture, it is usually addressed to a body of believers to tell them how far from God we all are. I guess some use it as a form of humility speech to “humble” themselves so to speak before God. That is a wrong application of this passage. It has made many a believers come to a conclusion that they are very far from God with no hope of remedy.
Right Application: Early in my Christian journey (over 17years ago), I learnt that when I am studying a passage of scripture I should ask myself:
- Who wrote it?
- When was it written?
- To whom was it written or who is it speaking to or who is it talking about?
- What is there for me (e.g. warning, promise, commandment, example etc)?
Answering just 3 of these questions regarding the passage, the following become obvious:
- Who wrote it? Prophet Isaiah (in this case speaking as an oracle of God).
- When was it written? Not going into details of actual dating, it may suffice to say it was written under the dispensation of the Law during a period of apostasy and disobedience by the children of Israel.
- To whom was it written? The answer to this is just in the previous verse:
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7 (KJV)”.
Hence if you are neither wicked nor unrighteous, verses 8 and 9 cannot be describing you. The state of wickedness and unrighteousness is the extreme opposite of the expected position of the believer. As Christians, God’s way must become our way. His thoughts should be our thoughts. We are commanded to be imitators of God as dearly beloved children (Ephesians 5:1). An imitation of a thing is a replica of that thing. This imitation is what is referred to as godliness.
Yes, you may still be a work in progress. You may not yet be all you can be yet. But that discomfort and discontentment you feel is simply as a result of you wanting His way to become your way. And that is because his thoughts are already working in you. Scriptures declare that we have the mind of Christ! (1 Corinthians 2:16). The word of God declares that God is at work in us to will (in other words to think) and do (in other words to do things His way) according to his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
So the next time someone quotes that scripture to you and tells you your way is not His way, nor your thoughts His thoughts, just say to yourself, “…not me. I am not a bastard. I am like my father!”
…To be continued. More common misapplications. Will be glad to hear from you.