“In Accordance With the Scriptures…”
I believe that the Scriptures are something more than a nice book or a collection of myths. I have come to the conclusion that “the Scriptures” are authoritative for my life. All of us have given authority to something or someone to shape who we are (even if it’s ourselves). For me it is the Scriptures.
Writing that feels odd. I don’t really know why, but it does. I think it’s because over the last few years I have really wrestled with the Bible and the way that many in my tribe worship it as a god or god. I have struggled with things that I have read in it and worked through questions in the Greek and Hebrew. There are still questions that I have, but I have come to the conclusion that at the very least, the Scriptures are the best way for me to learn and know about Jesus.
Yet, this question has haunted me, “What does it mean to live in accordance with the Scriptures?”
There are stories of people trying to “live biblically.” Basically, they try to follow every command in the Bible for one year. I don’t think that’s the answer. For some reason that seems really shallow when I read that things like, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” Love of God drives the obedience to the Scriptures, so if it’s just following rules apart from relationship that, I think, misses the spirit of what the question is getting at.
I am coming to a few conclusions though. First, to live “according to the Scriptures” is to have a desire to live a life that looks like Jesus. I am beginning to think that this is the crux of “obedience” in light of loving Jesus. If I don’t have any desire to be like Jesus in my life, then why would I want to live in “accordance with the Scriptures”?
Second, it is to have the narrative of the Scriptures in you. This sounds a little weird. Too many people in the evangelical subculture treat the Bible like a textbook or an owner’s manual. It’s neither of those things. The Scriptures are living, active, and they speak to us. Not in some creepy or weird way, but in a similar kind of way that a great album might. Recently, I have been listening to a podcast where people are talking with an artist about his newest album. They are sharing their resonance and dissonance with it. It is beautiful. His music and lyrics are impacting their souls. The Bible is like that too. When it gets in us, it shapes us, it speaks to our deepest sense of self. Our lives begin to reflect the narrative arc of the Scriptures that progresses from union with God to brokenness to shame to exile to redemption to union again with God. To live a life that reflects this reality in our relationships with others and self moves us from isolation to communion and from shame to wholeness.
Finally, to “live in accordance with Scriptures” is to live with a sense of mystery. The Bible doesn’t have all the answers. The reality is that it speaks to the human experience up to the point where it stopped being written. There are principles to be learned and embraced that can and should help us navigate our world. But, that doesn’t mean that it is some sort of “Magic 8 Ball” or talisman that will open before us the secrets of the ages. When we live “in accordance with the Scriptures” we live a life that embraces the mystery of the moment. We see ourselves as part of a grand story where the final is still being written.
I’m still working through all of this. But, at the very least, I know that I want my life to look like Jesus, I am trying enter into relationships along that narrative of the Scriptures, and I am embracing mystery. As I’m doing these things, I am finding it easier to love, easier to listen, and easier to care about others. Is this because I’m living “in accordance with the Scriptures?” I’d like to think so. I’m asking different questions and in the midst of embracing mystery, it’s easier to come alongside others with humility.
I’m curious, how would you answer the question?