Confession time. But first, disclaimer time. I’m going to say some things that might strike you the wrong way. That’s okay. It’s okay for us to disagree. I’m not trying to draw a boundary for who is an isn’t a Christian. I’m not even saying you are a bad Christian if you disagree with me. Are we good? Okay.
What I am saying is that there are things that people tend to use to determine who is a good or bad Christian. This is my confession of how I fail that test for some people and why.
I don’t pray verses over myself, my family or my friends. I don’t confess verses over myself, my family or my friends. For many Christians this is a big deal. There are plenty of books, blogs, etc about why you should do this, how you should do this, and which verses you should pick. So…why don’t I?
I want to be very clear here. I’m not saying that praying or confessing verses is wrong. I’m not saying you are a bad Christian if you do this. I’m not even saying it’s a bad idea. I’m saying that this type of behavior doesn’t fit into my experience of God. And when I’ve tried to follow along, bad things have happened. When I’ve tried to pray or confess verses, it disconnected me from communicating with God. The verses became a formula. The way I started to behave relied on the idea that if I confessed the right verse in the right situation, I got my desired results. But if I confessed the wrong verse, I got unpleasant results. That idea is not only false, but it is devoid of interaction with God. Notice, I explained my perspective in detail and did not once refer to God. He is not a necessary part of my equation. All I need is the right verse for the right situation.
Listen, I’m not saying that if you confess or pray verses that you necessarily stop interacting with God. I’m saying that when I confess or pray verses I stop interacting with God. It doesn’t work for me. I start treating the Bible like it’s a spell book. If I can only find the right verse, I can fix my problems. But that’s not what I need. I don’t need a better verse.
I need Jesus.
If confessing or praying verses gets you in touch with Jesus, then by all means cut loose with that. But I have a sneaking suspicion that several of you may share my experience. Memorization and quotation of scripture keeps you from knowing and interacting with God.
If that’s you, here’s what I would recommend. Focus on the character of God. Think big picture. If you take all the scripture you know into account, what sort of picture does it paint of God? Is He generally concerned about your welfare? Is He willing and able to intervene in your life? Does He want good things for you? It is more comforting to me to answer these questions because when I don’t see someone healed, it doesn’t wreck my theology. If I see a situation where one of the promises isn’t fulfilled, then it doesn’t bother me. Why? Because I know He’s faithful. I know His character. I know He didn’t fail. I may not know why things went down a certain way, but His character is the same.
I said earlier that the Bible displays His character in various situations, and allows His people today to see how He responded to His people in the past. It’s an accurate explanation of what we can expect from a relationship with Him. It shows us how He treats His people. So we know the sorts of requests we should make. We know the sorts of requests He tends to answer. And when we’re confused because things aren’t going well, we don’t frantically search for a better verse to fit the situation and give us the result we want. We trust that the God we know has us in His hands.