Moving Target

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.–James 1:17

Last week we went through half of James chapter 1 and discussed about temptation. I’m going back to James for today’s post, where I want to talk about just 5 words in the verse above and how important they are. Those words are, “with whom is no variableness.” Those words are very important and very powerful and should also be comforting.

I remember back a few years ago they used to have NFL quarterbacks participate in the Quarterback challenge. They would go through all sorts of challenges like running, who could throw the ball the furthest, who was the most accurate, etc. The one challenge I liked to really watch was where they had these big targets attached to golf carts, and each quarterback would attempt to throw the ball and hit the target as the golf cart drove across the field. Even the best quarterbacks in the league had trouble hitting it, even though they all could hit the stationary targets. Why? Because hitting a moving target is hard. It’s constantly changing, you never quite sure where it is going next.

There is no variableness with God. He’s not a moving target. He’s not changing what he wants today and then tomorrow he expects something out of us that is completely different. In Hebrews 13:8 it says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

I have had bosses in the past where you have no clue what they’re going to want that day. One day they want you to not spend any money in the budget or the next day they’re saying spend spend spend. Or they want you to work on this project and then quickly turnaround and want you to work on another project. Those have been some of the most frustrating times at work.

Not only is it frustrating, but it is very inefficient work environment. God is not like that at all. What he wanted from humans 1 year ago, 100 years ago, or 1000 years ago, is the same as what he wants right now. There is no moving target with God, just consistency. We don’t have to spend our time guessing what he wants today or what mood he’s in. That’s why it’s important for us to read the Bible. That’s His word and one of the main ways he tells us what is expected from us.

Just as I appreciate going into a job where I know what the expectations are; I love that God is consistent, and I know what to expect from him and what he expects from me.

Following the Rules

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.–Titus 3:1

The Bible commands us to submit to the law of the land. Actually the Bible states multiple times that we are to obey the leadership we have here on earth.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme–1 Peter 2:13

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.–Romans 13:1

It’s hard for us to obey all the rules. How many of us speed? I would say quite a few, my drive to work, I’m pretty sure there are only two cars actually going the speed limit. Although everyone is going well past the speed limit, the rule is that you go the posted speed. The speed limit is just one example, we try to get away with, not obeying many laws that we have.

We also try to justify why we don’t need to obey a particular leader, whether that is in our local government, state government, of federal government because we don’t like what political party they are part of. No where in the Bible does it say a particular political party is Biblical. Quite honestly, they all could use to read the Bible a few times. In Romans 13:1, Paul, is very clear that God put the current rulers in their place. Sometimes that is hard to understand with the leaders that are elected, but we know that God has control of everything. That means we need to obey whether the party in power is our choice or not.

So if God, put the leaders in their position, do we always have to follow it? In 1 Peter 2:13 it says we are to submit ourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake. If God put those leaders in their place, then if we are to follow the Lord that means we need to follow their rules, unless it goes against God’s word.

God’s word is supreme as he is the ruler over everything. Therefore, if an earthly rulers’ rule goes against God’s word, we must go with what God’s word says. As hard as it can be, we must submit ourselves to the law of the land, but only if it does not conflict with God’s word. Even that speeding thing!

No Addition Needed

Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.–Proverbs 30:6

Adding To The Word

The Word must not be mixed with human ideas and imaginations. God’s truth is fully adequate to meet our spiritual needs. Anyone who teaches that something must be added to Biblical truths in order to fulfill our lives in Christ are wrong.

Revelations 22:18-19 states: “. . . If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

We should never be careless with the Word of God. Adding our own ideas or taking away parts that we do not like will have costly impacts. God does not need us to perfect his word. Our ways are flawed, His ways are not. No additional human wisdom is needed to complete the sufficiency of God’s Word. The words of Jesus and the grace of God were enough in the early days of the church to meet the needs of the lost.

Be Careful

It is easy to get in discussions about the Bible, ideas are being thrown around, you don’t have time to think about it, and you spout something off. We need to be very careful with this, especially around new believers or non-believers. They may not have the knowledge to refute what we say. If we are in any situation where we teach, we need to be very careful what we say. I have a habit of thinking out loud a lot. Sometimes what I’m saying is my own internal way of vetting what I want to say and if it is Biblical, I sometimes forget that I’m talking out loud. I’ve had to go back to people and say, that’s not true or Biblical on what I said. It was me vetting my own ideas. Individuals that are new believers, don’t always know when to question what they hear. So, if you are a teacher, always be cautious of how you word what you say and what you say in general, when discussing the Bible.

Secular Application

We should be very careful what we add to what others have said. Many times we will rephrase what somebody says and it ends up completely different that what the original person had said. Maybe you remember the telephone game that was played in school, someone says a sentence to the person on the right of them, then that person repeats what they heard to the person on the right of them. This continues until you have went through the line or around the circle. Usually, what the last person says, is nothing close to what was originally said.

When we add or rephrase what someone says, we have a good chance of changing their true meaning. Sometimes this has no impact, other times this could cause a lot of grief.

Going back to the Bible, we could be hurting someones spiritual walk with God, by adding to the Bible or taking from it. We could end up causing someone not to accept Jesus as their savior. We could cause them to be confused or even hurt them. Always be alert of what you say when teaching the Bible. We will be held accountable as John mentioned in Revelations 22:18-19.

On the flip side, we also need to be cautious of people that add to God’s word. Preaching prosperity seems to be very popular right now, but it’s very non-Biblical. Nowhere in the Bible does it say if you become a Christian, everything will be okay, you will be rich with no problems.

The take home message is, don’t change God’s Word, and stay away from those that purposely do change His Word.