“God bless you!” And “Gesundheit!” (German for “To your health!”) It’s that time of year again: allergies. In the past, I rarely suffered from seasonal allergies but this year, something snapped and wham! I was abducted into the House of Perpetual Sneezing. Desperate for an escape, I searched online for a cure. The near unanimous advice? Buy Local Honey. Apparently honey produced by local bees provides a boost to our immune system against an enemy invasion of pollen.
Who knew that a seemingly harmless substance (pollen) can actually weaken and sicken our bodies?
In the same way that we must take active steps to boost our immunity against natural pollutants that seem so harmless, we must also guard ourselves against supernatural ones. Like pollen, there is a spiritual pollutant that can also appear deceptively harmless:
The reality is that we have an enemy who is hell-bent on lowering our spiritual defenses and willful ignorance makes His work that much easier. When we fail to guard ourselves against ignorance, we weaken our spiritual immune system, leaving us vulnerable to all kinds of spiritual sickness. “Claiming to be wise, they became fools …” (Romans 1:22)
How does this happen? It’s simple, really. When we think we can pick and choose aspects of Who God is and what He wants – and disregard others. For example:
- We all seek to embrace God’s love, but are we willing to bow in humble reverence of His holiness? (“Be holy, for I AM holy.” Lev 11:44; 1 Peter 1:15-16)
- We enjoy hearing a weekly message about God, but are we willing to sit daily at the Master’s feet and hear from God? (“Come … and learn from Me…” Matthew 11:29)
- We all want the “abundant life” Jesus offers, but are we willing to respond to His call of living a life of sacrifice, “take up your cross and follow Me”? (Matthew 10:38).
When we pick and choose to embrace aspects of Who God is and what He expects from those who follow Him – and disregard others – we turn up our nose at the importance of sound theology. In effect, we are saying, “I don’t want to actually know God or what He says, I just want Him to make my life easier.” Our worship becomes centered not on God, but on ourselves, and in doing so, we “exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator.” (Romans 1:25)
“To insist doctrine doesn’t matter is really a doctrine itself.” – Timothy Keller
And I would add, “a dangerous doctrine.”
How did we get here? The answer goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. The serpent challenged Eve’s claim that God had warned them that if they ate from the tree, they would surely die. The serpent responded, “You will not surely die …” and proceeded to suggest that God was holding back and that if she ate the fruit, she would become wise, as wise as God Himself. “So when [Eve] saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he [rejected the command and wisdom of God and] ate it, too.” (Genesis 3:4, 6)
The rest, as they say, is history. Beginning with Adam and Eve, the human race has exchanged the wisdom of God for the deceptive wisdom of the world that tells us we can have whatever we desire – even a false view of God – without any consequences.
But wait! There is good news! There is a cure! And get this: it’s the spiritual version of honey!
“Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 24:13-14
And where do we find such wisdom? The same place it’s always been: in a healthy reverence for God and Who He is: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10)
How about you? Where do you struggle the most:
- Bowing in humble reverence before God, not to seek His benefits, but to seek to know Him – ready to surrender any false views you may be carrying?
- Making time daily to read His Word and listen for His voice?
- Following Jesus’s example of living a life of self-sacrifice?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.