Have you heard this before? “Religion is for the weak.” Or how about this one? “God is for wimps.”
My personal opinion is that people who speak such things do so out of ignorance. Evidently they haven’t taken the time to read the Bible and see whether the God described there is wimpy or weak. A few passages in Revelation talks about Jesus coming back a conquering King with His robe dipped in blood. Sounds like a mighty warrior, not a wimp.
In the Old Testament there are numerous references to God’s mighty right arm. In the book of First Kings, Elijah encounters God in a still small voice. Of course, this was after the mighty wind (think tornado), earthquake and fire that passed by first. One of my favorite verses is in the book of Micah. Chapter 7 verse 8 says, “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.” In other words, you haven’t seen the last of me because God never gives up and neither do I. You have been warned.
My new favorite among this caliber of verses is Amos 3:8. “A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” I remember being at the Oklahoma City Zoo as a kid and everyone there freezing for an instant. We knew it was safely enclosed, but when that lion roared, you could hear it through the entire zoo and it made the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
Is God loving and merciful? Of course! There are countless stories in the Bible of His great love for us and that is an understatement. Does God show mercy? Of course He does or you and I wouldn’t be here today breathing and taking up oxygen. As Christians, we are called to share the love of God with others. If you’re not sure about whether or not God is strong enough for you, read more about Him. You just might be surprised.
My husband is conducting a study through the book of Revelation. It is fascinating to learn about the ancient Seven Churches that the Apostle John wrote to and what life was like for them and why the words in Revelation have so much more meaning when we understand that. You are going to give me a white stone with a new name on it? Um, okay, but I’d really like turquoise, I’m much more into color.
We can’t think like our culture today. At the time Revelation was written, a white stone had great significance. In a court of law, it was a representation of being acquitted in a case against you. A black stone meant you were guilty. So for Jesus to say He will give us a white stone – that means because of His love, grace and sacrifice, we are acquitted. Pretty cool.
But the very first church, Ephesus lost something. It had lost its first love. Jesus commends them for keeping their doctrine pure and not letting evil doers lead them astray, but they had lost their first love. They focused so much on keeping the doctrines pure, which pure doctrines are a good thing, but they forgot to be loving in the process. Later churches get in trouble for not keeping their doctrine pure, so this is an important issue, but it can’t be to the exclusion of love.
There are a lot of controversial issues in Christian churches today involving what can and cannot be done by individual members as well as who is and is not qualified to serve as a minister. As a Protestant, I do believe in Sola Scriptura, that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and it is the final say in all decisions regarding doctrine. As Christianity struggles through these controversial issues and many seek to keep doctrine pure, let us not go the route of Ephesus. Don’t let doctrinal purity exclude love.
After all, Jesus didn’t say disciples would know one another by their intense spiritual doctrines kept pure. He said they would know one another by their love for one another.