My First Quake…
“Earthquake!” That word will shake you as much as the ground will. In 1989, my family and I experienced the Loma Prieta quake that rocked the San Francisco Bay Area. One of my friends, Peter, shouted that word and we began to scurry out of the house. It was 5:04 pm on October 17—four minutes into Game 2 of the World Series between the two Bay Area teams, Giants vs. Athletics.
Massive power outages meant no communication, save battery-powered transistor radios. “The Bay Bridge has fallen!” were the words over the air. That was more shocking than the 30 plus minutes of aftershocks following the 7.1 quake.
We were not directly over the epicenter by God’s grace. This meant that we did not suffer the brunt of the shockwave. Those closest to the epicenter did not fare as well.
This led me to a thought, “The closer to the epicenter, the more you are moved by its power.” While this would be destructive in a tremor, it would be instructive as it relates to the truth.
What is Opinion, What is Truth?
There is much talk in our time of preference or principle, opinions vs. objective Biblical truth. When I was young there was a litmus test given among Bible-believers about convictions or preferences. It went something like this, “A Biblical conviction is one you would keep if a gun was placed to your head, everything else is just a preference.” This swept most people’s Christianity into the hopper of preferences. They would continue to live it, but now with an “it’s-just-your-opinion” manner.
A Preference Problem
The unfortunate end to this approach is that it leaves everyone to decide what they would keep if they faced a firing squad, rather than just applying Biblical truth. In which case, truth is left up to the decider’s fortitude, not the Scripture’s authority. It becomes reminiscent of that verse,
Judges 17:6 – In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
If I become the epicenter of truth, I will always be right. I can then tell others that they are alright. Paul cautioned of this danger…
1 Corinthians 4:3-5 – 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
We can’t judge each other (validate or invalidate), we cannot even judge ourselves (justify). We must leave that to God. So, does that mean we have no definitive answers for the questions of Christian living?
God’s Epicenter of Truth
If God left an instruction book full of practical principles for living, how is it that we can say, “God doesn’t talk about (fill in the blank) in the Bible.”? As if He did not see ahead to 2013 and know what we would be up to! The problem is in the application. Can we properly apply God’s truth to our situation? This is where the actual discerning comes in. What is God trying to tell us? And He has something to say about everything.
If we do, I firmly believe that we will have our lives ” shaken up.” Why? Because the closer you are to the epicenter, the more you will be moved by it’s power!
Thanks for reading.