Word of God vs Personal Behaviour
I was listening to a message by Pastor Michael Brown the other day and was intrigued by his statement that we tend to interpret the Word of God through our behaviour rather than the other way around. If, for example, we are engaged in some activity contrary to the clear teaching of scripture (i.e. sin) we use rather clever mental gymnastics to interpret the Word of God in a way to justify our sinful behaviour.
Let’s say a believer holds a sinful resentment in his heart against another believer who has in some way wronged him. Rather than take to heart the command to not let a root of bitterness grow within us, the command to not give the devil a foothold, the commands to foster unity, to be a peacemaker, to pray for those who mistreat us, and many other clear commands, the erring believer will accept his or her resentment as valid and seek to justify it by misusing scriptures, perhaps pointing to passages on shunning the unrepentant brother, or framing the resentment as righteous indignation.
But the mature a believer will understand that the clear truth of the Word of God has first priority. Instead of interpreting scripture through one’s behaviour the maturing believer will interpret his or her behaviour through the Word of God. He will listen to and happily accept the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit and adjust his behaviour accordingly.
A believer with proper priorities will live by the Lord’s injunction “Seek first His kingdom and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Not only because he knows it to be the right thing to do, but also because it is his heart’s greatest desire.