“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
I have been contemplating the life of the Christian and the mixed messages we sometimes receive. Mixed messages? Well, take for example, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11-12) and “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3). Or how about this one, “Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12) and “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). On one hand the Bible appears to guarantee protection from all hardship and the provision of all the good things life has to offer, while on the other hand warnings that life, even for the righteous, contains its share of troubles and trials. Which is it?
Are these truly mixed messages or have we subjected God’s truth to our own flavour of eisegesis? What do I mean? I think too often we read the Bible from a particular slant and sometimes mix the truth of God’s Word with untruth. When attempting to understand God’s Word to us, we need to pay particular attention to doing ‘exegesis’ which is the act of interpreting and understanding the truth as presented in the Bible; ‘eisegesis’ on the other hand is the attempt to interpret the Bible so as to fit our own biases. When the Bible appears to contradict itself, we need to pause, to take a step back and look again with fresh eyes and with the help of the Holy Spirit. If a contradiction exists, it is in all likelihood due to our own personal preconceived notions and unwillingness to hear anything that contradicts our beliefs.
When we choose to follow Christ, we need to recognize that we have an enemy who is intent on sowing confusion and throwing us off course. How many times have we as God’s children allowed Satan to create chaos in our midst. His question to Eve still reverberates through history to the present day, “Did God really say...?” (Genesis 3:1). It is worth remembering Paul’s admonish to his protégé, Timothy: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!