4The snake replied, “That’s not true; you will not die. 5God said that, because he knows that when you eat it you will be like God and know what is good and what is bad.”
One of the greatest problems the church faces can be regarded as the continuous “misinterpretation of the word of God”. From the biblical extract above, it is clear that misinterpretation is the strategy of the evil one to lure God’s children away from God’s directives, away from God’s plan, away from God’s will and away from God’s desire for His creation.
I advise you go back and read Genesis Chapters 1-5 and follow how a beautiful plan was distorted because some message, better still, an instruction was perceived wrongly. For many theologians, Genesis Chapter 3 is regarded as the text that tells the tale about the fall of man – Human disobedience. I have often pondered and wondered what really went wrong in that garden and after thousands of years, what is still going wrong in our garden?
We need to trace the problem back to the beginning. The message of God is always clear, unequivocal, and unambiguous! God gives a directive and it is unmistakeably clear. However, we confuse ourselves; we allow other interesting interpretations of ‘the truth’; we give room to interpretations that soothe our pleasure, our desires and our will. We must remember that God’s will exceeds the will of any other. God says:
This is what I want!
This is how I want it!
This is how I want it done!
This is how I want you to do it!
This is where I want it!
This is who I want!
Obviously, the problem is not in the message. The message seems clear enough for easy comprehension and application. But the application of the message is surrounded by different voices and viola – misinterpretation gets a chance. How do we solve this challenge?
Let us learn from Jesus. Jesus was sure of God’s will; he followed God’s directives, he was convinced of the role he had to play as the messiah. Remember that Peter came to him trying to convince him otherwise. And what was Jesus’ response? Get behind me Satan!
Similarly, first, we must seek God’s directives; we must know what God’s will is; and we must desire His ways. Of course, we must always be alert to the voices that surround us; the voices that misinterpret the will of God. We must accept and be convinced about our roles as “people of God”. One point of note: Like Adam and Jesus, we are custodians of God’s divine plan.
Let us reflect further. For clarity, “misinterpretation” in this reflection covers all forms of prevarication, deception, shying away from the truth, and all colours or shades of lies. Jesus reminds us that from the very beginning Satan lied – in fact, Jesus termed him the father of lies/liars. We learn from the narrative of the temptation story of Jesus, the evil one used very convincing situations and biblical extracts to lure Jesus away from God’s divine will, but failed. All forms of misinterpretation of God’s will was the strategy employed during the temptation of Jesus but Satan failed because Jesus was fixed upon God’s divine will.
Our churches today face this great temptation of being lured away from God’s divine will. Remember that God’s message is clear and His divine will MUST be done, regardless of the pain we have to bear at the instance.
I once read a quote that says: If Jesus preached the kind of message that is preached today, He would not have been crucified. – Another quote says: Preach about the love of God and forgiveness and the whole world would love you but preach sin and repentance and the world would hate you for that.
This is the acid test today-
If your church accommodates your SIN – please RUN from that gathering. Jesus loved sinners but encouraged them to repent from sin. In Jesus’ words: “Has no one condemned you…neither do I, go and sin no more”
If your church preaches that our sins have already been forgiven and grace already covers us, thus we are free to live the life we desire because God has made provision for our redemption – RUN. Jesus calls us to be perfect just as our heavily Father is perfect. He invites us to strive towards perfection not corruption.
If your church preaches the CROWN and the CROWN alone – You are not doing yourself any good, RUN. The Christian Life is about the CROSS and the CROWN. Jesus himself said, if you must be his disciple you must take up your cross and follow him.
If your church encourages and publicly acclaims the mixed-up notion about marriage and relationships, it would surprise you that you have been fed with what you wish to hear, just like Eve was deceived, RUN – This is very important, follow this carefully, Jesus explained to the Jews that it was not so from the very beginning. God’s divine plan has been distorted because of man’s stubbornness, disobedience and greed. Must we continue to do so?
We must be cautious about people interpreting ‘what God has said’ and ‘what God meant’. Is the interpretation in line with God’s plan? Is God taking the glory at the end of the day? Or are we experiencing some kind of self-promised-glory? Would your case be like that of Saul, the first King of Israel, who heard God’s word and went on to interpret them the way he thought was best? You know what happened to him… Obedience is better than Sacrifice!
Today, above all things, search for what God’s divine will in creation is and his will in your life. Jesus has given the blue print to that. There are no more definite plan expressed; “Seek yea first the Kingdom of God and of it righteousness…” to be cont’d