Before we reach, teach, or preach, we must know and understand what we’re talking about, and who has the authority.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us”. – 2 Corinthians 4:7
Sometimes we misunderstand what it means to have this treasure in earthen vessels. The Word of God wrapped in our fragile humanity. In our arrogance, we assume that whatever slips through the cracks of our brokenness will always represent the goodness of God. The truth of the matter is we ought to take great care when we speak on behalf of God. Because of our brokenness, we’re capable of great information and misinformation.
Something I shared in my latest book, Are We Still Making Disciples, is the fact that all transformation isn’t godly transformation. Meaning that everyone that claims to be transformed isn’t necessarily transformed by God. Every thought that comes to our mind isn’t God’s gospel just because we’re saved. After being dipped in Scripture, we’re still very capable of acting in the flesh. In action and in speech, all while claiming to speak from the Scriptures and for God. I would caution, as we operate in these earthen vessels, that we get an understanding with our memorization.
We’re in a day and age of Scripture bashing with limited study and/or understanding. What’s often missed by the world that hates to hear from the church on any controversial issues, is the fact that the church actually beats up on one another with Scripture just as much as they do the world, if not more. And they do it the same way: with a lack of understanding.
We’re under the impression these days that because we do things a little different than days past, that we are somehow different. We have some updated Bibles and viral ministries, and now we think that we’re progressive. In some cases, we are, but in others, we’re very much the same. We’re not openly pronouncing hell on everyone that we don’t agree with as they did in days past, we’re just a little more subtle now.
We have new school platforms with old school sensibilities, and we think no one knows the difference. We’ve invited everyone in, hoping that they don’t catch on. Where we’re no longer Bible thumping, we’re tablet tapping. But clever judgement in still judgment, and the world isn’t fooled.
One of the primary motivations for me writing Are We Still Making Disciples is the fact that we have so many that lack understanding that are on an evangelism crusade in the name of the church, touting a few memorized Scriptures as though they not only understand, but are living by them to the letter (Romans 3:23 comes to mind).
However, it’s not so much the church sending people out as it is people going out on their own. We have so many social media evangelist, prophets, and scholars, that the church can’t keep up or contain them. People have forgotten the difference between testifying about what God has done for you and the responsibility of leading people to Christ.
With leadership comes great responsibility. If we’re standing on Scripture, throwing it around on our pages, in our friendship circles, in our families and so on, all with the idea that we’re leading people to Christ, we must remember where the power lies. It’s not in our snappy statuses, it’s not in our spiritual high mindedness, it’s not in the fact that we’re memorizing more than we’re applying, and it’s certainly not in our ability to throw Scripture better than we can catch it. The power is in God!
So our responsibility isn’t to be smug or clever with His Word. Our responsibility is to rightly divide it. To keep quiet about what we don’t have a grasp on. To remember that the treasure is in contaminated earthen vessels, and if we’re not careful, the contamination of these vessels can spoil the contents, so that when it’s poured out and it’s consumed, it makes the recipients sick and not healed.
It’s so vitally important that we pay more attention to the fact that God has the power concerning His Word. We are the conduits. Have a zeal of God, but according to knowledge. We must rightly divide before we disseminate. In all thy getting, get understanding.