Philippians 3:15 says, “Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you.”
I read this verse this morning in a daily morning devotional that is emailed to me at work. I read it, then reread it. My heart swelled with love for God. I absolutely love this verse! How have I missed this verse for so long??! It is right smack in the middle of a passage that I am very familiar with. I know I must have read it many, many times in the past… Don’t you love that, though?! When you read something in the bible and it just speaks to exactly where you are at that moment?! I love how God is so personal.
I have been listening to a Christian radio program the past 2 mornings that talks about a woman’s place in the home and what the bible says about that. I will admit that I struggle with these verses, and have for a long time. I listened to what the radio station said, and there were certain parts that I could now understand better even thought I had struggled with them in the past, and other parts that still cause me anxiety, frustration and discontent.
This morning, the verse in Philippians means to me that I do not have to agree with everything that is in the bible. God is too loving and gentle to force me to believe anything. He knows that there are some parts of the bible that I will struggle with. I am not saying I question weather or not the verses are true, I believe God’s word is inerrant and infallable. However, there are verses that I struggle with. Philippians 3:15 is saying that it is OK to struggle with the meaning of certain verses in the bible, it is even OK to disagree. This does not give us permission to sin through our actions, but it does allow us to question what God means by his instructions in the bible. God gave us an amazing and intricate brain; He knows that we are going to think about what His Word says. He knows that we each have a different perspective and background that cause us to digest things in different ways. He does not expect us to mindlessly accept everything at face value, but gives us time to think through His Word. Talk to other believers about it, read books about it from Christian authors, listen to sermons, meditate, pray. He will eventually reveal His word to us in a manner that is not forceful or hurtful he will provide us with insights and ways to apply it to our lives. We may have to adjust our thinking a little bit, but it will be in His timing so that we are ready for it. Just as this verse spoke to me today, a verse that I struggle with may hit me differently tomorrow and reveal something I had not previously considered. That is what is so incredible about God’s Living Word. As Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
I encourage you, when you read a passage in the bible that is difficult to digest – don’t give up! Don’t say “OK, I will abide and believe in most of the bible, but this part is just not for me”. That is not what God wants. It is OK to disagree, just keep studying and praying about what you don’t agree with or believe in. God will most definitely reveal His purpose and meaning to you in His time.