Always One Foot Out the Door: the Case of the Flaky Pastry

I absolutely love flaky pastries! Otap and croissants are treats for us. The former has even recently become one of our kids’ favorite snacks. Sugary, sweet, beautiful in texture, easy to devour.

As we continue to eat otap on a daily basis, sometimes I am reminded of how I later took a bad turn as a young Christian, new in the faith.

I can honestly say that, by God’s saving grace, Christ was all I wanted when I began my walk with Him. I wanted Christ for Christ’s sake even if it meant leaving a lot of things, including the possibility of marriage, behind.

I loved knowing Christ more and more in discovering the basics of the faith (salvation, Lordship, repentance, etc.). I was like, so this is what it is to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

As time went by, in differing seasons, cities, and circumstances, I discovered a certain flakiness in me—not the good kind, but the kind that the devil seems to love munching on.

In His wisdom, the Lord used the ever-increasing challenges marriage and parenting, of “adulting,” to teach me how my shallow understanding of Christ and Christianity just couldn’t cut it. Whenever a challenging trial would be served on the table, I would easily fall off of it. Nevertheless, I am still grateful, for those years created in me a deeper longing, a deeper desire to dig deeply into the Word.

God’s grace in those moments has taught me that I needed sound teaching and doctrine everyday to keep me from crumbling, falling off, and being eaten by a clean-up crew of hungry ants! Those moments taught me that if I am to live out God’s purpose for me, I need to get my bible right.

John Piper would say, “Do not settle for wimpy theology. It is beneath you. God is too great. Christ is too glorious.”

A decade ago, I had falsely believed that if I just believed Jesus enough, prayed hard for this and that enough, fasted long enough, then I would have everything I needed, as Jesus would be pleased enough to give them to me. Then I would be free from hardships and see no trouble afterwards.

Unfortunately, that’s not the Jesus from Scriptures—that’s a genie. So, yes, somewhere along the way, in the busyness of life, I actually had lost sight of the true Jesus. The fact is, I have everything I needed in Christ, and I totally missed Him.

Nevertheless, God was still at work, birthing something in me.

You see, what we believe inevitably shapes us—truth (or half-truths and lies) always flows, first, into our heads, then, down to our hearts, then out of our hands.

Those false notions were why I was constantly reconsidering, flippantly and easily giving up in my pursuit of holiness, and why I lacked the willingness to fully obey, and obey persistently.

I had Jesus in me, and I could have communed with and enjoy Him deeper everyday, but I settled for being that modern-day snowflake Christian, “a mile wide and an inch deep”, as the late great JI Packer described it.

It nowhere says in Scripture that life would be breezy, easy-peasy. In fact, Jesus Himself said:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

And His victory over this world also means Truth’s victory over error, He is Truth Himself.

Apostle Paul pounds on the importance of “sound doctrine,” and it simply means truthful teaching.

In almost all of his letters, we see the pattern to be “Here’s Who God Is and what He has done. Then here’s who you are in light of Who God Is and what you are to do in response.”

I had to unearth what wrong beliefs I had ignorantly embraced and gotten lazily off the internet and heard from people around me. I needed to always check if what they say coincided with what the Bible says.

Sound doctrine is radically transformational. Lived out, it changes everything about us.

Nancy Wolgemuth

I honestly have fallen of the cliff of error. But the good news is, the Lord is a Great Shepherd who pursues sheep prone to wander.

He always finishes the good work He begins, being in the business of daily sanctification, (what?!) that wondrous gift of salvation which the New City Catechism calls our “gradual, growing righteousness”.

And so, praise God for His sanctifying grace!—instead of the usual taking in of chapters and verses, I began to read the Bible from left to right, to see its whole story, the metanarrative. I began to appreciate, understand and embrace its whole counsel (Acts 20:27).

All of us believers are works in progress in having sound doctrine, and today’s easy and instant everything culture is not really helping the progress at all. Reading, studying, meditating, praying, and applying God’s Word takes much time and intentionality.

May we use our time during this pandemic to deliberately dig deep into Scriptures for an increasingly sound and solid footing for our walk, that “we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Eph 4:14).

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