Doug Johnson: The Bible can reveal one’s true condition
Years ago, a rich Chinese man visited England and took great delight in a beautiful microscope which was shown him. Later he purchased one for himself and took it back to China.
One day, he examined a tiny bit of his dinner rice with the microscope. To his horror, he discovered that there were actually tiny living creatures in it.
It was part of his creed not to eat anything that had animal life. What should he do? He was not only particularly fond of his rice, but it was the staple item of his daily food.
He thought he saw only one way out of it. He would destroy the instrument that pointed out the distasteful fact and so, he smashed the microscope in pieces.
Similarly, many people hate the Bible because it reveals their true condition.
Hebrews 4:12-13 says, “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing of soul and spirit, joints, and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (NIV)
The simple truth is we all need God and we are all lost without Him. Years ago, Pascal explained it this way: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in every life that only God can fill.”
Money, alcohol, power, and fame won’t satisfy that empty longing. God has given us His Word (the Bible) to show us our true condition without Him and how we can return to Him. Those who disregard the Bible do so at their own peril.
The story is told of a man living on Long Island who was able one day to satisfy a lifelong ambition by purchasing for himself a very fine barometer. When the instrument arrived at his home, he was extremely disappointed to find that the indicating needle seemed to be stuck, pointing to the sector marked “Hurricane.” After shaking the barometer very vigorously several times, its new owner sat down and wrote a scorching letter to the store from which he had purchased the instrument. The following morning on the way to his office in New York, he mailed the letter. That evening he returned to Long Island to find not only the barometer missing, but his house also. The barometer’s needle had been right– there was a hurricane coming!
Similarly, the Bible is like a “spiritual barometer” pointing out the lost condition of mankind. However, if the Bible only revealed our problem without giving us the answer– if it only diagnosed the disease that’s killing the human race without giving us the cure– it would be of no use to anyone. But the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:1-2: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Jesus gives us peace with God and hope for the future. He gives us a reason for living.
A minister once said, “When I read the Bible it’s like the Bible is reading me.” That’s what makes the Bible different from any other book. It has the power to take you apart and
put you back together as a brand-new person!
So whether it’s used as a microscope to evaluate our innermost thoughts or as a barometer to point out our spiritual condition– the Bible is more than just a book of stories. For the Christian, it is a guide book for daily living. For those who have lost their way, it is a road map pointing the way home. The Bible brings hope to the hopeless, strength for the weary, comfort for the grieving and forgiveness for the repentant. Have you read it today?
Doug Johnson is is the senior pastor of Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.