A different kind of confession

Happy Friday, Confess-ers. Today I’m doing something different. Instead of posting a ‘Fraidy Cat Confession, I’m attaching the blog of another writer below. This is Bryan Daniels, and his blog is Chief of the Least. He makes very good arguments about watering down the potency of the Word of God. As I read it, I can’t help but wonder if I’m guilty of this when I write a confession. I apply God’s word to my situation and my life and it gives me strength, but am I diluting the milk of the bride?

Read on:

Sometimes our eagerness for practical bible application becomes woefully misguided. When we hastily push a text into our own respective situation we may blunt its force. This is a sad exercise, because the word is a sword that slices our soul, not a butter knife that scrapes our skin. Take Jesus’ words:

Whoever wants to be my disciple must take up his cross daily and follow me Luke 9:23

It’s not a terribly bad interpretation to say this verse applies to harvesting an habitual practice of self-sacrifice and self-denial. But when we accept such vague terms before long such “sacrifice” begins to look like fasting for a day or being nice to mean people. Pretty soon we’ve decided we are almost martyrs for enduring such “crosses” as headaches and past due mortgage notes.

At times we can be so ego-centric in our eisegesis we begin to sound like the deacon who said to his counseling pastor, “Pastor, I guess my anger is just the cross I’ll have to bear the rest of my life.” The pastor replied, “No, your anger is the cross your wife will have to bear the rest of your life.”

Application of a text means nothing if the meaning of a text is not unearthed first. Diluted milk is bad for the body, especially the bride’s.

The shocking force of the words would not be lost on Jesus’ first century audience. What they heard was, “Follow me, and you will be signing your own death sentence in your own blood.” Or in more contemporary speech, “Follow me and you will be tying the hangman’s noose around your own neck everyday of your life.”

This heavy rhetoric is no way to grow a religion or church. I’m sure our modern church growth experts could school the Son of God in “proper contextualization.”

In the Roman Empire, the cross was the beam condemned criminals carried to their place of execution. These words had haunting applications for a first century audience that we miss in our daily grind of skinny lattes, gas prices, and Facebook drama. Jesus was not metaphorically calling his disciples to daily tidy acts of servanthood and patience, though we should do those.

The proper response to Jesus’s strict call would sound a lot like Paul when he says “I count my life as nothing….”(Acts 20:24)

Everything in my old nature rails against the clear penetrating words of Jesus. That’s why God gives us the grace to present ourselves again and again as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:2)

Jesus was enlisting men and women in an impossible undertaking that would defy all odds and likely leave them dead by way of excruciating means. This could happen any moment. Under Roman and Jewish persecution it was a given to the early Christians that they would have to prepare literally “daily” for their own trial and funeral arrangements. To follow in Christ’s footsteps means to set one’s face like flint to Jerusalem, and to count it as an honor to die outside the gates like a street dog. He is our reward, and as long as we are with Him it is more than worth it.

I love the words of GK Chesterton: “Jesus promised the disciples three things-that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.”

Completely fearless because Christ was with them. Absurdly happy because Christ loved them. In constant trouble because Christ called them to fight for a different Kingdom.

Bryan Daniels

***

Sound off, Confess-ers. This is a shameless plug for reassurance and a chance for you to tell me what you think. Am I diluting the meaning of the Word in these confessions? Would something else speak to you and spur you to confess your power in Christ more?

Check out more of Bryan’s blog, and tell him I sent you!

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13 thoughts on “A different kind of confession

  1. …”because the word is a sword that slices our soul, not a butter knife that scrapes our skin” – brilliant! Great insights.
    His Peace,
    Chris

    1. cclody, those great words belong to Bryan, and I loved them too. I couldn’t keep myself from asking the hard questions and then pointing people to his blog. Pop on over if you haven’t already and check out more of his stuff. And thanks for reading ‘Fraidy Cat Confessions! 🙂

  2. I do not think that you are diluting the meaning of the Word. Everything has balance. And I think that Bryan’s post was focused on balancing one end. So, keep up the good work! 🙂

    1. Aw, Jonathan, thank you! Your words bring perspective and I hoped to hear just what you said. God is good! He gave me reassurance too, from Titus 2:3-5. Thanks for speaking His kindness to me, and thanks for reading! Blessings on you today.

  3. Using passages from God’s word to reassure yourself and others, brings comfort and encouragement. Does that dilute the Word? I certainly don’t think so. We find in the New Testament that Jesus cited passages from the Old Testament and did not cite the whole text. He did not dilute the Word, and believe it or not it was not one of the things of which He was accused.

    I have known people that have used random verses from the Bible to try to prove a point. In which case it just might be that the person is guilty of diluting the Word, because they are looking only for the part that supports their argument. My dad did this often. He didn’t read the Bible nor attend church, but when he wanted to prove a point he would go get the Bible and search it until he found something that he thought would prove his point. That I would think does dilute the Word, and I think he has been be held accountable.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement, Ann! I’ve also known people who take the Bible out of context to prove their own points. Dangerous game that I pray never to play. At least not once I realized I was doing it. I love how you pointed out that Jesus cited Scripture without using the entire text or giving a detailed history of the passage. That was encouragement and urges me to stick to the truth and nothin’ but. 😉

    1. britc17, that’s a great verse, and the one after it came to my mind also. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” I’m so thankful He knows me inside and out and loves us all enough to shape us and encourage us. Thanks for reading!

    1. Thanks, Debbie. One of the things I love about the Bible is that it’s a living force. Lots of layers going on there! It’s a good thing to step back and take stock once in awhile, see if I’m still speaking God to people or if I’m getting in the way. 😉

  4. Shelley, your comments speak to my situations more often than not and then I ususally get confirmation on that from Andrew Wommack’s daily devotional. I love what you’re doing so keep it up, even if I don’t always respond.

    1. Thanks, Mom. 😉 I get the benefit of your comments in person, so that counts too. But I am so glad the posts encourage you – and wow! to be confirmed by Andrew Wommack! Maybe I should tell him he’s on the right track… Lol.

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