As a child, I romanticized the idea of being a “Christian hero.” I imagined the thrill of adventure and the satisfaction of changing the world—but I never envisioned the hardship, discomfort, pain, and spiritual attack that comes when you take a stand for righteousness.
When Eric and I entered into full-time Christian ministry early in our marriage, we weren’t prepared for the battle we had stepped into. It felt kind of like taking a baseball bat and hitting a hornet’s nest, only to realize that our feet were stuck in concrete so that we couldn’t run from the angry insects that were now coming at us with a vengeance. We were attacked on all sides by both seen and unseen forces. Discouragement, disillusionment, and confusion came at us from every angle.
If you can learn to stand upon the solid rock of God’s Word in every situation you face, you will not be vulnerable to the distortion of truth so common today.
I began to question God’s love for me and to wallow in confusion. Trials only drove me further away from Him and made me feel uncertain about God’s promises. I would try to work through my confusion by talking with others or to seek advice through self-help books or counseling. While I sometimes received a good suggestion here or there, I never found the unshakable clarity I was craving.
Finally, after I had spent many years repeatedly returning to this miserable pattern, God awakened Eric and me to a principle that altered the way we responded to difficulties: accept God’s truth as fact and command your feelings to agree with it. Whenever we were hit with confusion, uncertainty, or difficulties, we began to search the Word of God for answers. And when we found them, we learned to reckon them as fact, no matter what our current feelings, past experiences, or present circumstances might say.
We have learned that we cannot wait for our feelings to agree with Scripture before taking it as fact. Rather, we accept God’s truth as fact and command our feelings to agree with it. When we do, our circumstances and our emotions align with the truth of God’s Word. Eric and I have applied this principle for many years, and it has revolutionized our lives. Even during difficult times, we no longer question God’s love for us or doubt His promises. Confusion is gone, and certainty reigns in our hearts and minds. Why? Because we have rock beneath our feet.
Returning to the Rock
It’s amazing how tempting it can be to run anywhere but to God’s Word whenever we are struggling with doubt and confusion. We think we’ll find comfort and perspective in the words and ideas of our fellow humans instead of in the eternal Word of God. But human thoughts and ideas are only beneficial if they are in harmony with the timeless truth of Scripture. All other ideas, notions, concepts, and suggestions are worthless.
If you can learn to stand upon the solid rock of God’s Word in every situation you face, you will not be vulnerable to the distortion of truth so common today. When you are exposed to ideas that do not agree with Scripture, you will be much quicker to recognize and renounce them. And when the enemy tries to bait you with confusion, doubt, or despair, you will have a means to finding the clarity and heavenly perspective you need.
Wallowing in doubt, confusion, and uncertainty has become hip and trendy in many Christian circles. Some churches even host what they call Doubt Nights, where everyone gets together and vents their doubts about God and His Word. Confusion is celebrated today. But what a miserable way to live! Why would you choose to look at a sunset through a filthy window when you could see it in all its breathtaking beauty by looking look through a sparkling clean window instead?
Remember, when we reject God’s Word, we are rejecting Jesus. He is the Word of God made flesh (see John 1:1-5). He is the solid Rock upon which we must stand. Everything else in this life is uncertain, but His Word remains steadfast and immovable. He said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt 24:35). All other ground is truly sinking sand.
Here are two practical ways to begin building your life upon the solid rock of God’s Word:
1. Cultivate a Canon Mind
According to the culture, having an open mind means being willing to entertain other people’s beliefs and ideas, and even to adopt them as your own if they feel right to you. Not being open-minded puts you in the category of being close-minded, stiff, and stodgy, not to mention unloving and judgmental. Why would any of us want to take on that kind of label?
But in order to have our feet planted firmly upon the solid Rock of Christ, we must look to the truth of God’s Word as the lens through which we evaluate the validity of any human thought, idea, belief, or philosophy. Does that mean we are to be close-minded? Never willing to hear another person’s ideas, always having to be right and staunchly holding our position in a prideful, arrogant way? No. We must exchange an open mind, not for a closed mind, but for a Canon mind. (Canon simply means the sixty-six books of Scripture.)
In order to have our feet planted firmly upon the solid Rock of Christ, we must look to the truth of God’s Word as the lens through which we evaluate the validity of any human thought, idea, belief, or philosophy.
Having a Canon mind means that you implicitly trust God’s definition of reality, are exclusively devoted to God’s opinions and commands, and are closed to all other thoughts, ideas, or philosophies that promote any reality other than His. The Canon mind is built upon the conviction that God’s Word is the perfect revelation of fact and that it cannot lie, and is 100 percent truth. When you have a Canon mind, you know that God intends His Word to be comprehended, understood, and lived out by His saints. When you have a Canon mind, you are not open to any thought or definition of reality that is not 100 percent concurrent with the revelation of God’s Word.
How do we develop a Canon mind? It begins with the decision to take God’s Word as fact. If God said it, and He cannot lie, then there is nothing more to argue. Once you have settled it in your heart that Scripture is truth and that the Bible’s message is reality, the next step is to know and love the Word of God. Too many of us are susceptible to error because we are ignorant of what the Bible actually says. Here are some ideas for how to fix that:
- Set aside some time each day to study and meditate upon God’s Word.
- Learn how to explore Scripture and delve deep into God’s meaning behind every verse.
- Use tools such as inductive Bible study courses and Bible websites such as www.BlueLetterBible.org, that can help you learn to use concordances and study the Greek and Hebrew roots of each word in the Bible.
- Download an audio version of the Bible (we personally like The Word of Promise) and listen to it around the house, in your car, and even while you are falling asleep at night.
- Spend time around other believers who revere and love the Word of God.
- Talk about what you are learning in Scripture and listen to what they are learning.
- Ask God’s Spirit to make His timeless Word come alive to you.
As you begin to make God’s Word the foundation of your life, practice applying specific truths, commands, and promises to situations you face each day. Memorize some key verses to help you immediately combat lies with truth. For instance, if you struggle with the temptation to hold on to offenses, memorize verses such as “Love is not easily angered,” (1 Cor. 13:5) or “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).
Yes, the enabling power of God will equip you to live out these commands, but you can’t live out God’s truth if you don’t first know what it is!
You can’t live out God’s truth if you don’t first know what it is.
No matter what your circumstances or struggles, you can always find an answer in the Word of God. If you cannot find one immediately, begin to search for it as if you were searching for hidden treasure, and ask God to guide you as you look to His truth for answers.
For a beautiful and inspiring vision of the way we are to interact with God’s Word, take some time to read through Psalm 119. As you fall in love with Scripture and cultivate a Canon mind, you will soon find yourself standing upon a Rock that cannot be moved.
2. Replace Feelings with Truth
Even those of us who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture have often been conditioned to consult “feelings first” when grappling with truth. When we are deciding whether to believe God’s promises or obey His commands, we often ask ourselves, “How do I feel about this?” rather than, “What does God say about this?”
Remember, God’s truth is unchanging, and He cannot lie (see Titus 1:2). Our emotions and personal experiences may not always line up with the commands and promises of the Bible. But does that make His Word any less true? When we try to edit truth to mesh with our own emotions or preferences, we are placing our own opinions and thoughts higher than God’s. It doesn’t matter how we feel about what God says, and it also doesn’t matter what our past experience states. If our feelings and experiences don’t match up with God’s Word, the fault lies with us, not Him. As it says in Romans 3:4, “Let God be true, but every man be a liar.”
Responses like the following indicate that we are using our experience to determine the reliability of Scripture: “But I prayed for such-and-such, and God didn’t come through for me, and now I can’t trust Him or believe His promises.” Or, “The Bible talks about peace and joy, but all I’ve ever experienced is despair and heartache!”
God cares deeply about each one of your painful past experiences and each one of your current struggles. We must always remember that receiving His truth, not running away from it, is what leads to clarity and victory. The answers and reasons why may not always be clear. But if you learn to place His unchanging, eternal truth far above your own feelings and experiences, you will soon begin to experience freedom, faith, and heavenly perspective beyond what you ever thought possible.
(Note: for more on this subject, I encourage you to listen to Eric’s message “The Anatomy of Faith” available for free download at www.ellerslie.com.)