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Posts Tagged ‘Contradictions in the Bible’

Mixed-Messages

 

 

Perhaps you can help me answer a question.

I’m wondering why, in spite of the fact all of us Christians are using the same manual, the Bible, we don’t always agree on a course of action?

For example, some Bible teachers will advise us to persevere in pursuit of Christian character or the fulfillment of a dream that seems God-inspired. A favorite scripture to support their premise is Philippians 3:13-14.

“One thing I do:

Forgetting what is behind

and straining toward what is ahead,

I press on toward the goal to win the prize

for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

So we dig deep into our resolve, rise early in the morning to spend time in God’s Word, work hard with self-discipline and determination, pray fervently, and more.

BUT. Others will say, God never intended us to toil from early morning till late at night. They will say, “Learn to rest in God (Psalm 91:1). There is no need for nonstop activity. ‘The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still’” (Exodus 14:14).

So which is it? Press on or be still?

Here are a few more contradictions that have come to my attention:

  • Waiting in faith (Psalm 27:14), as opposed to stepping out in faith–like Abraham, when he left Haran and had no idea where he was going (Genesis 12:1-4).
  • Dreaming big, because all things are possible with God, and he can do far more than we could ask or think (Luke 1:37; Ephesians 3:20). On the other hand, God’s ways aren’t always our ways, so we need to be prepared.  Events may not unfold as we planned (Isaiah 55:8-9).
  • Trusting in God’s provision (1 Timothy 6:17b), or providing for ourselves as he expects (1 Thessalonians 4:11,12; 2 Thessalonians 3:10).
  • Trusting in God’s loving care to protect us (Psalm 91:9-11), or expecting trials and suffering (Philippians 1:29).
  • Remembering what God has done, including the transformation from old ways to new (Deuteronomy 6:12; Psalm 77:11-12), or forgetting the past and focusing on the goal ahead (Philippians 3:13-14).

How do we handle such mixed messages? Here are a few possibilities:

  1. Aim for balance.

Each set of contradictions above need not represent either/or choices. For example, we can be still and at peace in our spirits while pressing on to accomplish what God has impressed upon us to do. We can wait patiently for a prayer to be answered and step out in faith to follow God’s leading for that answer. We can dream big even as we pray, “My life is in your hands, Lord. Do with me as you will.”

Balance makes for blessing. — St. Augustine

  1. Realize that God has purpose in the contradictions.

For example, if every decision was clearly a black and white matter, there would be no need for his personal guidance. But his greatest desire is to be in relationship with us. So perhaps he allows a bit of ambiguity in our lives so we’ll choose to stay close to him.

  1. Embrace the adventure of contradiction!

We never know when God is going to step in and make something happen–something unusual and exciting! As we work to provide for our own needs, God may very well supply a miracle–far above and beyond our expectations. Even during a trying time, God will deliver showers of blessing, beginning with supernatural strength and peace that defies explanation.

No doubt there are other contradictions in scripture that you have noticed.   Perhaps you’ve given some thought as to their purpose, and how to deal with them.

So please. Share your insights below, and let’s learn from each other!

 

(Photo credit:  www.brandesign.co.za.)

 

 

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