In the Christian life, there are times of rest and times of struggle, and what we do when the sun is shining will often determine how well we will fare when the rains fall and the winds blow. It is usually the pleasant times when self-confidence becomes exaggerated that many professing Christians tend to chip away at the rock upon which they stand.
Twenty years ago, I began dealing with a chronic illness. Though I now have it mostly under control, the first five years were the worst. The most debilitating of all the symptoms was anxiety. I quickly learned that my illness was affecting my nervous system and causing me to experience fear. Anxiety is fear looking for a cause. When it hit, I would feel like I was in great danger, so I would begin to look for the source of my vulnerability even though one did not exist. At some point, I would eventually start to examine my relationship with God.
During this time, I began to feel like God was against me. I began to wonder if I was unsaved, but all of these emotions contradicted the Word of God. It was here that I needed to learn to walk by faith, not by sight. Or, to put it another way, I needed to learn to walk by truth, not feelings. When my feelings contradicted the Word of God, it was my emotions that were lying, not the scriptures. The Bible is the rock upon which we stand. Jesus used the analogy of building our house on the rock. We are to trust it, even when it contradicts ourselves. We become much more aware of our need for a strong foundation during hard times.
When the good times come, however, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of our foundation. The winds are not trying to knock us over, and the rains are not there to cause us to seek shelter, so we do not feel the need for solid footing. Often during these times when we do not feel as reliant upon God’s Word, we begin to pick and choose what we agree or disagree with in Scripture.
Some people take the chisel to their foundation and chip away at biblical sexuality because they disagree with certain aspects. Others file off the virgin birth or the exclusivity of Christianity, while some grow tired of hearing about sin and the cross, chip them away and replace them with something more appealing to modern ears. This dismantling of the Word of God can continue for years without concern because the storms are absent.
The problem is the wind will eventually begin to pick up, the rain will start to fall, and the floods will begin to rise. Even if we live a charmed life, we will still have to face the final enemy, death. At that moment, when the accuser rears his head and our hearts condemn us, and we begin to look to the Word for assurance, we will not find it because we have been chipping away at our confidence for years.
At that time, the Rock of the Word of God will still be as strong as ever, but we will find we are standing on something much weaker and prone to crumble in times of need. We will look down and see our feet planted in sinking sand, and we are in danger of being washed away. Our only hope will be to move back to the Word of God in its entirety, but this will not be easy because all the arguments we have built up over the years will stand in our way.
If this is you, take heart; God’s Word is like a hammer (Jeremiah 23:29). Pick it up and begin wielding it. It is able to destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God—even our own. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).