In listening to many podcasts by various people, I came across a podcast episode entitled, “The Will of God.” It is on Louie Giglio’s Passion Podcast (not to be confused with his church’s podcast – Passion City Church).
In this episode, an excellent one, Louie speaks with Matt Chandler. Chandler brings up the urgent need for biblical literacy, and Giglio asks him to share why biblical literacy is important by asking from the point of the view of “Why can’t we all just love Jesus and meet in the middle?” Matt begins with an insightful illustration:
If I were to call my wife right now and say, “Lauren, I’m missing you right now. I just can’t wait to run my fingers through your black hair and gaze deeply into your green eyes,” people would say, “Gosh, that is just so romantic.” Except my wife has blue eyes and blonde hair. So now, I’m complimenting Lauren on things that are not true about her. And as far as my wife goes, that is offensive to my wife.
I honestly think what is going on is that it is easier for us to create a Jesus that nobody gets angry at, that everybody loves, and that everyone will worship. Its kind of like giving Jesus a makeover, instead of Him being the one we see in Scripture. And when we see Jesus in Scripture, worship should increase, and as worship increases in our hearts, the world isn’t going to understand us.
I think we’re trying to make cool what was never meant to be cool, and I think, honestly, what we see in the Bible is going to press us in ways that make us feel uncomfortable; in the Scriptures that God is going to disagree with us. And we don’t want God to disagree with us, we want to conform him into our image. I think that is what is driving a lot of it [the disregard for biblical literacy].
This is illustration is, I think, helpful and gets to the root of the issue – the human tendency to make God agreeable to ourselves – we want Jesus to look like us in order to avoid facing the harsh reality that we are still in the process of being conformed to His image and that means change (in our lives) is inevitable. This change comes through the Spirit’s work to conform us to the image of Jesus by the ordinary means of grace, in particular, the Bible and prayer.
Read the Scriptures. See God for who he is. Watch and listen to Jesus in the text. Know him by knowing his Word.