One of the books we will work through is Mike Emlet’s Cross Talk which is a very helpful study of understanding both Scripture and life. Mike talks about exegeting Scripture and also people. Sometimes we do not take the time to listen to the people we are serving, and move too quickly into “helping” them.
Our clients, on the other hand, sometimes have a hard time understanding how Biblical truth really fits with their circumstances. I understand this. It is easy to think that our trials are different. Our pain is unique. We see how Scripture really fits in other people’s experiences, but not ours. Sometimes it just does not seem like the comfort of Scripture is really comforting. The steps Scripture calls us to take are not going to work.
I think back to the stories I have heard of the great Charles Blondin who crossed over the Niagara Falls in the 1850’s and 60’s. He demonstrated that he could cross below the falls on his cable, and that he could carry his manager on his back while crossing. Legend has it that he asked the folks in the audience if they believed he could cross on the wire and all said yes. They had seen him do it. He asked if they believed he could carry someone across the falls. Again, they had seen him do it. Then he asked for a volunteer to allow him to carry them over the falls on the cable. He was met by silence.
The truths of Scripture are real. God tells us what really is, and what we really need to believe and how that shapes the way we live. Truth is co-existent with reality. While it may not seem like that when we go to apply the truth to our reality, it is.
So how do we take the steps to live the truth in our reality?
I think some things that I need and I point out to my clients include: fellowship and support from our community, action on our beliefs, knowing the truths of Scripture clearly, and prayer. I cannot live apart from the body, either intentionally or merely functionally. We can be part of the church and active in church life without hearing and accepting the counsel of our brothers and sisters. They may challenge us on issues and we may understand their views without ever seriously considering applying them. When I am convicted by the truths, perhaps through the counsel of my brothers and sisters, I act. I am profoundly convicted that what Paul Tripp and David Powlison say in their lectures and books on change is true. Insight is not change. Change in our actions and behaviors is evidence of change. I need to be in the Word and studying how its truths apply to my life regularly. God promises His Word will not return to Him empty. It always accomplishes His purposes. I also need to be talking with God about these truths and asking for His Spirit to guide and empower my faith.
God works through His truth in the details of our reality to build His kingdom. Praise God!