No joke—my husband drove up behind this car on the way to work the other day. Black Mercedes with license plate that reads, “Tithe.” Chuckling, he muttered, “Must be a pastor’s car.”
Scripture can be twisted and contorted to read what we want to hear.
We can use it to win an argument, make excuses or champion our cause. A verse taken out of context can be incredibly instrumental to our advantage. However, for our own benefit, we mustn’t pick and choose.
Scripture, God’s breath of life to us, is meant to be read in it’s entirety.
It is tempting to meditate only on scriptures that exhort blessings. Here’s just a few:
“I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies.” Genesis 22:17
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Ps 34:8
With a hazy lens, little do we realize that blessings are also born out of pain and suffering.
Blessing in scripture can refer to a material, financial wealth, because certainly God is able. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Ps. 50:10). However, we must be careful not to limit the word blessing to only financial things. This word also includes our emotional and spiritual well-being. We cannot fully appreciate God’s goodness and glory without experiencing the full depth of Him. He is the Lion and the Lamb, the Alpha and the Omega,…spoken about from Genesis to Revelation. Why would we want to hinder ourselves from seeing every bit of Him? From the example of Paul, we see this exemplified.
Paul learned to be content regardless of his circumstances.
“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13
God is continually at work to set us apart and make us holy, the work of sanctification.
He doesn’t promise us a perfect life, but rather a perfect eternity. We read Scripture so that Scripture reads us. In other words, we read Scripture to reveal our true selves. The good, the bad and the ugly can be quite transforming. Why do I elevate myself above the person sitting next to me? Why do I pat myself on the back? Why do I long for the approval of others? Why do I find sarcasm and cynicism as my best friends?
Therefore, in all that we do, we must examine our true intent and motives to determine if they are pure. Is this for my personal gain or for the glory of God?
“A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.” Proverbs 21:2