As a parent, on many occasions I’ve heard my kids say to one another, “you’re not the boss of me…” or “don’t tell me what to do!” Let’s be honest, most of us don’t love it when people tell us what to do. Whether it’s a government getting too involved in our lives, or a spouse or child over asserting themselves – we don’t like to be bossed around. I think there are two primary reasons for that nearly universal sentiment. First, being bossed around confronts our desire for independence. We want to call the shots and determine the course of our own life. Secondly, most of us live with a low-grade suspicion of authority. We’ve seen power abused and people calling the shots doing so to their own benefit, so we’re inherently skeptical of the motives of those bossing us around.

We bring all that baggage into the way we read Scripture. We often resist the instruction given because we don’t want to be bossed around – even by God. We don’t want to be told we’re wrong, and so, at times, we gloss over the way God wants to confront us and call us to repentance. However, one of the purposes of Scripture is for God to speak to us and tell us that we’re wrong. Listen to the way Paul wrote about this in 2 Timothy 3:16. He said, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” One of the reasons Scripture is useful is because it convicts (“reproof” in the ESV) us and corrects us.

The ideas of conviction and correction work in tandem; they’re two sides of the same coin. When the Scriptures convict, they call us out on the ways we’re wrong. When Scripture corrects, it shows us the way forward. Scripture calls us out in order to lead us forward. However, we must read the Bible with a sense of openness if we’re going to allow God to speak into our lives through it. We must be willing to be shown that we’re wrong, and we must be willing to change. We can read the Bible all day, but if we don’t have the right heart and an openness to God, we’ll resist His conviction and correction holding onto our independence and self-sufficiency.

As you read Scripture this week, maybe start your time with a short prayer, “God, show me where I’m off and lead me forward in your way.” That’s essentially what David prayed when he said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24) Then, when the Spirit quickens you, pause and thank God; He’s calling you out to call you forward. After you thank Him, make a commitment to act on what He’s shown you.

Pastor Ryan Paulson
Lead Pastor

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