Shackless

04/23/2008

But you, friends, are well-warned. Be on guard lest you lose your footing and get swept off your feet by these lawless and loose-talking teachers.
Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:17-18 (The Message)

There’s a book making its way through the Christian community right now. The book is called “The Shack,” and it’s an allegory about a man who suffers a great heartbreak in life, who then meets with God in the shack. The book had me a bit disturbed, even though it explained everything in a way that made me feel good. I wondered what the problem was? Why did it seem just a bit off…? It reminded me of this Scripture: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”. 2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NIV)

I wouldn’t say “The Shack” is turning ears away from the truth…but is it sound doctrine? Maybe that’s the problem. It is so close to the truth that even Christians are drawn to it, but it’s not exactly the truth. The truth is none of us are “Shackless.” We all have a personal note from God, and we all can meet with Him to discuss His design for our life and whatever we are going through. We have God’s Word, and we have God’s Holy Presence in which to dwell. Hebrews 10:19 20 says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. This is the new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us through the sacred curtain, by means of his death for us.” (NLT) But, it might take a lot longer than a weekend—perhaps weeks, months, or even years of returning again and again to this place to develop a deeply intimate relationship with our God. It is a process of growing and learning Who God is, and it cannot be rushed.

I know many questions could be answered in a satisfactory way in this allegory, but will they be answered in the best way possible? Sometimes our enemy will blatantly lie to us, and sometimes he’ll tell us something close to the truth so that we will be distracted by it. The best way to get to know God and His true character is by spending time with God and His Truth. If our Bibles gather dust while we’re reading works of fiction trying to tell us something that’s close to the truth, it may be a distraction used by the enemy to keep us away from a closer relationship with our Lord. It may make our personal journey of faith take just that much longer.

Because life is hard, we’re very vulnerable to what our “itching ears” want to hear. But how we respond to the pain in our lives is critical to our spiritual well-being. There’s nothing wrong with an entertaining read, as long as we are not fooled into thinking that only a privileged few are allowed such special times with the Savior. Our Father is waiting for all of us to visit with Him, so that He can speak to our own unique set of circumstances in life. God is longing to share His Truth with all who are willing to sit a spell and listen.