The Bible and its terrible effects

It is Monday morning. Yesterday I went to church, where I sat in the sound booth to get an idea what Mr Kanoy does up there. His “backup guy” left the fellowship recently and I figured I could learn to do that stuff so Mr Kanoy can be absent from church if he needs to be or just needs a break. After church I ate a big lunch (realizing I had skipped breakfast) and then relaxed the entire rest of the day: watched a Star Wars movie with Ryan, went outside to pray for an hour or so, and just basically rested. Throughout the day I kept thinking I should try to jog on the beach or lift weights or something, but the energy never presented itself.

I still feel tired all the time. I wonder whether I should be doing more physically, like trying to force the issue of improving health. Would that work? I know from past experience that sedentary pursuits make a person tired; the body was made to be used, to expend energy. But the doctor said exercise could make my recovery take longer. I don’t know. Doctors don’t know. They’re only guessing.

In prayer I continue to pursue a walk with the Lord. This morning I read in Job, Isaiah, and Psalm 119. I am praying through Psalm 119 and making it my primary meditation right now.

I have heard people in church mention a man called Kelley Varner, a minister who apparently was active in North Carolina. After hearing his name several times, I was surprised one day to find one of his books on my very own shelf, a book titled Corporate Anointing. My mother had inscribed this book to me in December of 2000. Fifteen years ago. I looked at it this weekend, reading the first couple of chapters and skimming the rest. Then I watched a couple interviews of this man on YouTube.

I wonder what is wrong with me. The truth is I am never impressed by the big ministry personalities in the Church. It isn’t that I thought the book was bad, or that this guy was a heretic or false teacher or whatever, but I just never seem to get much out of books like this. I enjoy biographies like The Cross and the Switchblade and The Hiding Place. I like hearing about people’s walk with God and how He brings things to pass. But a lot of the “teaching” or “prophetic” books out there just don’t hold my attention — even the big-name stuff from recent years like The Prayer of Jabez and A Purpose-Driven Life. I really wonder why this is, why I don’t get anything out of these books. And of course I consequently wonder why these books are so popular.

For one thing, I am averse to following men or personalities. The Pentecostal and Charismatic movements have centered on strong or popular personalities, on the cannibalization of gifts God has placed in a few human vessels. I think this is a problem, or at least is something the Church is only meant to experience for a short time and then grow past.

Maybe the fact that I saw big failures making headline news when I was in my formative years — a lot of sins from fellows named “Jim” or “Jimmy,” problems of pride, passion and pocketbook — maybe that is what makes me suspicious of following any sort of opinionated mortal, whether a contemporary or from a long time past.

A lot of people have told me that when I speak my teaching is “anointed.” I have seen rooms of people crying as a result of my service to the Body of Christ, though I know that has nothing to do with anything. My goal is to “get out of the way,” to be diminished and forgotten in people’s minds. My constant prayer is that people who meet me will only be impressed with Jesus, that they will have a sense of His presence calling to them. The things I say do not come from a commentary or a “teaching” book or someone else’s sermons from the distant past: they come from life, from prayer and reading the Word of God. I am always after direct, fresh revelation from God Himself: daily bread. I know there is no “new truth,” but there is always truth that is “new to me,” that is necessary and right for me in my current circumstances and surroundings.

My limited experience with commentaries is that after I have spent a good amount of time in a passage that the Holy Spirit has held me to, I may with curiosity look up what someone else has said about it. But I can’t remember a single instance where that left me satisfied or really added something profound to what I already understood from His personal instruction. I waded through some months reading Oswald Chambers and I’ve looked into other devotions by people like A.W. Tozer and T. Austin-Sparks, but, again, these things just haven’t held me. My greatest desire when I was younger was to go to Bible school: to have a set-aside part of my life when all I would focus on would be the Word of God. Indeed, I still long for this. But God closed the door: it was simply not His plan.

I don’t try to fight the personality or makeup I have anymore, no matter how strange. I have tried to change for years — because changing would mean I would fit in or be happier at church — to no avail. I have been frustrated and uncomfortable and misunderstood because I am not wowed by so much that goes on in the Church. So I don’t try to fight these things, though I do wish I could understand them. Trying to argue with these sentiments might be denying something God wants to do or say, some holy ground He wants to bring me to. The call of God is always “Come up here.” You can’t “come up here” if you settle and are satisfied and have everything explained by things and voices you find down here.

So I don’t fight it. I just give it to Him and hope people can forgive me for not finding satisfaction in the traditions and personalities that have meant so much to them. In practical everyday existence I really am a sola Scriptura sort of dude; the Bible and its terrible effects on me present so many problems and challenges that I just don’t have time for much else.

And who knows? Maybe timing — God’s timing and purpose — is a better explanation in this matter than is my catastrophic weirdness. Maybe God speaks to us through the “other voices” —  the teaching or books or commentary or sermons or whatever — at a specific time and place, at a point when we need it and can be most receptive to it.

In whatever way the Word comes, I want the seed to fall on good soil.

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Author: Steve Hobbs

I live and write near the beaches of Brunswick County, NC. I entered this fallen reality in 1975. My wife Sikki and I were married in 1997. We have five children. I am a follower of Jesus and a seeker of truth.

2 thoughts on “The Bible and its terrible effects”

  1. “My limited experience with commentaries is that after I have spent a good amount of time in a passage that the Holy Spirit has held me to, I may with curiosity look up what someone else has said about it. But I can’t remember a single instance where that left me satisfied or really added something profound to what I already understood from His personal instruction.”

    Maybe you are reading the wrong commentaries or books. I thought about your remarks and I thought it was kind of odd you rejecting commentaries on books of the Bible like the Psalms. Your videos are a commentary on Psalm 119. To me commentaries are just Christians sharing their understanding the Bible-I can learn something from you and I can learn for example from Thomas Manton the 17th century English Puritan who wrote a massive commentary on Psalm 119. I find it odd that you would find nothing worth considering in Manton’s exposition of Psalm 119. From what I get from your remarks is that you believe men who have spent a life time studying a portion of Scripture (example Calvin’s Commentaries on the Bible) are not worth you reading or looking at. I have learned a lot from other Christians over the years. We meaning Christians can learn a lot from the Desert Fathers, the Church Fathers, the Medieval commentaries, Reformation commentaries, the Puritans and up into the Modern Times-the Community of Faith-peace

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