July 28 (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter. (NLT)
This verse comes in Paul’s discussion about the return of Jesus, and it is easy to see that return right around the corner when things are going wrong on a large scale. When we see wars and injustice and immorality sweeping the nations, we become convinced that Jesus is ready to come back. Yet Paul’s admonition here is for Christians. What’s going on?
There is a temptation to fall away from God’s word every day, or worse yet, to rebel against it. This rarely takes the form of openly embracing murder or tyranny, but instead comes in the form of yielding ground an inch at a time. God wants me to be happy, right? Therefore, I should be able to do X. The Bible says it is wrong. Oh, but the Bible was just the best wisdom of its day, and we know better now, don’t we? And on and on it goes, a bit at a time, until we have fallen so far from God’s will that our lives are unrecognizable as Christian, despite whether we still choose to call ourselves such.
It is more important than ever in the information age to keep a strong grip on orthodox, Christian teaching. Everyone with a keyboard or camera can broadcast this or that and claim it is Christian, but that does not necessarily make it so. God has given us His word in the Bible along with the Holy Spirit to guide our understanding. On top of that we have the body of Christ, the church, which is far more than the congregation we attend. The church includes the faithful stretching across the planet and two thousand years into the past. If what you claim to be a Christian belief or practice can only be reached by a tortured reading of the Bible or would be unrecognizable to the body of Christ at large and throughout the centuries, then it probably is not Christian at all.
Lord, guide my thoughts as I study Your word. Engrave Your teachings into my heart. Help me to hold on to what is true no matter how attractive another teaching may seem or how much I want to believe something else. I ask this in the name of the One who is the truth Himself, Jesus Christ. Amen.