So, my bad, but here we go…
I’ve had a little time to do some thinking since my wife sent me to a Mavs game in Dallas for the B-day today…. here are the official props by the way… She rocks!
Specifically, I have been pondering about the obvious duality of teachings in Scripture. You see, there are some things in the Bible that seem to be contradictory, and often cause me to get a bit frustrated with God. Or, maybe just frustrated with His book.
Here’s an example: God shields and protects the righteous, but blessed are the persecuted… HUH?
So which one is it? Does God shield and protect us, or are we considered faithful by Him when we endure it?
I believe the answer is yes. That is, both are true and that is what I mean by this duality in Scripture. Things that seem to be contradictory are actually not in opposition to each other, but are complimentary…For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it, in Luke 9:24 is another example.
These issues (or dual teachings) are usually separated and defined by times and circumstances. You know, it is perfectly acceptable for a baby to cry in public and even soil themselves, but if “I” did those things at the airport tomorrow I don’t think most people would find me nearly as acceptable. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be very pleased with myself either (you know, I chafe easily).
The timing and circumstance of the activities indicate what is appropriate and inappropriate for individual individuals (there’s some redundant repetition). And, the same is true for many teachings in Scripture that seem contradictory. They are actually complimentary when you understand that they are instructions, guides and rules for individuals in different spiritual times and circumstances.
The expectations God has for those who are outside of a relationship in Christ are far different from the expectations He has for those who have been walking in “the way” for a while. So, it may appear that God is soft in an area at one place in Scripture and much more stringent in the next. But, the reality is that God is instructing different people, in different circumstances, at different times in there spiritual lives.
Now don’t take this to mean that God is relative and that what is true for you may not be true for me. Truth is truth. But, what is expected of a 1st grader is not expected of college freshman. Yet, it will be expected of them when that first grader matures into a college freshman because the truth is still the truth; just understood within the context of his new time and circumstance.
CS Lewis approached this in the end of Mere Christianity (yes, I know I’m a little hung up on him) by quoting George MacDonald when he said this:
While “every father is pleased with the baby’s first attempt to walk: no father would be satisfied with anything less than a firm, free, manly walk in a grown up son. In the same way, he said, ‘God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.'”
Before we commit to follow the way of Christ, He is easy to please. We have to do nothing since His own son Jesus Christ did it all. We merely accept the free gift and He is pleased with us.
But, as we grow into the sons and daughters He desires us to become we experience discipline and challenges and find that our God is difficult to satisfy.
It is a duality in spirituality that exists in the Scriptures.
The point is, when you see things in Scripture that appear to run counter to each other consider the possibility that they are road signs for different travelers on different parts of the journey, but they are all attempting to get us to the same place… home.