The title of this post is actually from a popular worship song. Maybe you've heard it, maybe you haven't. If you have heard it, how does it end? What is "it" all about, and what is "it?" Read the lyrics for yourself below and answer those questions.
I could have only posted the applicable lines, but there is something in the rest of the lyrics that chips away at a prideful approach to God and builds up an attitude of a humble, yet hopeful, offering. Even in the longing, the bringing, the giving of whatever it is, the focus is on what blesses the heart of God. Sure, it may give us a "warm feeling," but the feeling that we get should never be our focus (try keeping that truth front and center at a huge youth conference!). The lyrics are about putting us, and God, in our proper places--not to be mean, or self-depricating, but to be biblical.
Biblically, however, that could be changing.
I recently read a blog post from Rachel Held Evans, entitled "The Bible: It's Just Not That Into You," that pulls you in. How could it NOT?!
What do you mean the Bible's not that into me? What have I done? I can change! Loove meee!!
The post turned me on to a company that applies your own name to the Bible so that the promises of scripture are more easily seen by the average reader. This Personal Promise Bible is then shipped to you (physically or electronically) and you enjoy the wonder of reading God's word as though God is speaking directly to you!
The problem is, this is already the claim of scripture.
On the site's home page, one may enter their name and instantly see the following passage:
By which He has granted to David His precious and exceedingly great promises; that through these David may become a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust.
THE HEART OF WORSHIP
There are several problems I see with this. First, I can imagine the number of people thinking about themselves in the third person jumping to pandemic proportions. Second, if people begin to talk about themselves in the third person there could be a rise, however subtle, in violence committed against others. I'm serious, this isn't even funny in movies. It gets awkward laughter, but that's about it. Third, this business takes an inductive Bible study method, aimed at learning to read scripture contextually (answering the who, what, where, when, why of a passage), and leads the reader to contextualize to their personal space and time. I can see how this product appeals to a demographic of people but I fail to see how it does much more than encourage many Christians to retreat further and further into back-pats and self-gratification. The living and active Word of God speaks to all, but it is not about us all. Sometimes it's about the Israelites, or the Philistines, or a person, kingdom, or area church. The "to" and "about" is usually pretty specific, even if the "for" of application gleaned from the text is pretty universal. Rachel writes:
While this product may be an extreme example, it points to the profound influence of Western individualism on our reading of the biblical text. Passages that were originally written for groups of people, and intended to be read and applied in a community setting (the nation of Israel, the various early churches, the first followers of Jesus), have been manipulated to communicate a personal, individual message…thus leading the reader away from the original corporate intent of the passage to a reaffirmation of the individualistic, me-centered, and consumerist tendencies of American religious culture.
At best, someone may come away with a new sense that God is calling out to them to personally repent, turn from their sin, and find life in Him--how could they miss it when reading their names over and over again? Jesus was speaking to more than one branch here, but maybe they would get that anyway, even if the editors of this work did a thorough job and removed all the corporate words like "them, disciples, us, and we." At worst, someone might believe that God's Spirit lives in him/her simply because he/she wants it to be so, without any thought to the cost they've so cleverly avoided. After all, "why wouldn't that be the case? There's my name, right there on the page!"
And of course, this time, they'd be right.
I am the vine. David is a branch. If David remains in Me, and I in him, he will bear much fruit, for apart from Me, David can do nothing.