TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• The annual apocalypse is over. My dog has taken a deep sigh of relief that the fireworks have stopped, and so have I. Our neighbors were having a heyday with them in our cul de sac last night. So much so, I was kind of concerned they might accidentally burn my house down. Thank you, Lord, for your deliverance and protection.
So… yesterday, I spent the day at home because as mentioned—fireworks. I don’t leave my poor dog on Fourth of July. I spent the day as I do every year, reassuring her that everything was okay. While I was working on some stuff, I decided to update all the apps on my phone. And now, Facebook doesn’t work. Whatever they did to it, they must not have done enough double checks because when I open it, it immediately goes back to the home screen. The app is technically open, but I can’t actually get to it. The same thing is happening on my iPad.
So that’s frustrating. As I woke up this morning, thankful that I didn’t smell smoke, I realized that God must feel the same frustration every time we try to “update” His Word. And I’m not talking about the translations. I know some are King James purists and I love the King James. It’s what I grew up on. But I can’t understand it easily, so I primarily use the English Standard Version. Beyond that rabbit trail, though, I mean updates like adding to or taking away from Scripture. Let’s look at a couple of passages:
- Deuteronomy 4:2 says, “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.”
- Galatians 1:6-7 says, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.”
- Revelation 22:18-19 says, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
God doesn’t hold back. Leave His Word alone. Don’t add to it. Don’t take away from it. Don’t reinvent it. Unlike apps that need refreshing to stay up-to-date and relevant, God’s Word is whole, perfect, and timeless (Isaiah 40:8).
Yet, we want to supplement with the “wisdom” of mankind. But we are warned about this in Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” It’s one thing to read a commentary or book about Christian living. It’s another to try to put other writing on the same level as God’s Holy Word—the Word that was breathed out from our Divine Creator and Savior in order to teach us and bring us to Him (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
That’s the danger of a book like “Jesus Calling” and it’s why I’m so incredibly picky about what books I read. The author is quoted, “I began to wonder if I … could receive messages during my times of communing with God… I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more.” She also said, “In many parts of the world, Christians seem to be searching for a deeper experience of Jesus’ Presence and Peace. The messages that follow address that felt need.” So, in short, the author wasn’t content with the completion of the Holy Bible. Nor does this message encourage her readers to pray or seek the Scriptures. She added to, or rather put words into Jesus’ mouth. For more info, I recommend the article Tim Challies wrote that thoroughly researched the problems with” Jesus Calling.” It’s called “10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling.”
It’s a dangerous game. It’s part of why even after writing every single day for three+ years, I still get anxiety about writing MGFL. And if you haven’t heard me say it, let me say it again. NOTHING I write or say will ever be a replacement for the Word of God. NO devotion book, email, newsletter, or blog will EVER take the place of reading the Bible. If you read this and don’t read the Bible, please stop. I appreciate you for reading, but I’d rather you spend your time reading what God says directly.
So be cautious. When you’re reading God’s Word and something doesn’t sit right with you, pray about it. Greg Laurie shared his answer to the question, “What do you do when you come to a verse in the Bible that you don’t agree with?” He responds, “Change your opinion, because you are wrong.”
The Bible is perfect. Facebook and all these online programs may need updating regularly, but God’s Word does not.
Today, as you pray, thank God for His inspired Word. Thank Him that it is whole, perfect, and timeless. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you seek His truth as a priority over anyone else’s opinions.
• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly.
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• Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.