Each of us conforms our surroundings to ourselves or ourselves to our surroundings. We say that people are influenced by their environment. We say that people are a good or bad influence on each other. We say that people can adapt to what is going on around them.
When it comes to scripture, what is being conformed in your life? Are you molding it to you or you to it?
When you start with you, your life, what makes you feel good, and what feels right to you, scripture becomes invalid if it doesn’t fit with what you think you need to hear. That’s how some interpretations come into play. People look for ways to apply scripture through the lens of self.
Actually, they are not really looking to apply scripture. They are looking for scripture that applies to them and where they are at the moment without the necessity of having to change anything about themselves. If scripture necessitates change, then they view it as invalid, or they spin it to fit their circumstances.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
– 2 Timothy 4:3
Quite often people do this without even realizing it. We live in a hurting world. Folks want a pain reliever. They want a savior in scripture, but they want that savior on their own terms. The driving is being that they need acceptance. The goal is that they want to feel better about themselves. Remember the phrase, “I’m okay, you’re okay”?
When you instead start with the premise that scripture is valid, you are more open to change. The Savior found in scripture becomes the mark of which we need to conform ourselves. The acknowledgment is that Jesus is Lord.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
– Romans 8:28-30
In essence, scripture does not exist in order that we might feel good about ourselves. Scripture exists that we might know how much we miss the mark. Nevertheless, the answers we are searching for to all of life’s questions reside in our ability to surrender to Jesus as Lord and know that “all things” do work together for good. The emphasis being on “all things.” The goal is to be conformed to the image of Jesus.
Today’s challenge is to ask yourself which of these you are doing. Do you start with a passage of scripture and ask yourself if it applies to you? Or, do you start with a passage of scripture and ask yourself how you can apply it to your life? The questions sound very similar, but the results are miles apart. Ask God to show you how scripture, the Word – is about Jesus, the Word. Seek to conform yourself to the image of Jesus.