Ed Crossley, who attends RML Mark (Wednesday), reflects on the recent 'Knowing God' weekend.
We need to be prepared
I was a cub scout in my youth. I wore long, grey socks with garters and a natty, white neckerchief too. I learnt to be prepared. Whatever it was I had to do, I had to be prepared.
As a cub scout, being prepared normally meant pretty straightforward stuff like remembering a torch when camping, or how to pitch a tent in the wind.
But life is full of more difficult and complicated challenges than how to survive on scout camp.
How am I going to keep going, and growing, as a Christian? How can I be sure that what I am doing with my life is what God wants me to do? What if I should be doing something else? If I should be doing something else, should I do it now, or wait a bit first? How can I be sure that what I have been taught at church is actually what God thinks about that really difficult, moral issue? How can I be sure that what I have been taught is actually true at all?
As a church family, how can we go about our lives like good cub scouts? How can we be prepared for all the challenges that life throws at us?
To be prepared, God's word is all we need
Somewhat incredibly, God says that the Bible is all we need to be prepared for every situation.
For a start, God says that he has uttered in Christ a comprehensive and final word for the last days in which we live. In Hebrews it says: "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son." In the Bible, we have this great final message of God written down, and as we read it, with God's Spirit working in our hearts, we hear God's voice today. This revelation of Jesus Christ is a reality that speaks into every moment and decision in our lives.
What is more, this final word of God, as recorded for us in the Bible, is all we need. In 2 Timothy, Paul tells Timothy that: "All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:17). In a similar vein, Peter tells us that as we come to the knowledge of God and of Jesus in the word of God we have "all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).
The Bible is all we need to be "equipped for every good work". The word of God gives us "all things that pertain to life and godliness". The Bible is all we need to be prepared for every situation.
God knows that life is complicated. He knows that during its course all of us will face challenges and will need to make difficult decisions. That is not a surprise to him. And so to help us with each decision, God has given us his word as the one thing we need to be prepared. We do not need anything else. To be prepared, we need God's word; God's word is all we need.