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Seeds of the Kingdom

Chocolate Box Christianity

by Philip Asselin

21 December 2020

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All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

My wife and I were thinking about Christmas and having the family around (hopefully!) and that it would be nice to have a box of Quality Street chocolates to share.

The great thing about Quality Street Christmas tins is that there is such a large selection of different individually wrapped chocolates to choose from. So, there is usually something for everyone. The real benefit is that you can just pick on the ones you like, as someone else will have different favourites!

However, that got me thinking that as Christians we can all be in danger of living out Chocolate Box Christianity. Yes, the Bible has lots of fantastic verses to choose from and the whole Bible is good for us, but could we be guilty of sometimes picking on just the verses we want. The ones that are the most appetising, and support our particular theology, or what we want to hear.

Sometimes verses are just plucked out of the Bible and applied to everyday living. The “Name it and Claim it” verses are just such an example, as are the ones that can be applied to “Prosperity Teaching”. They just seem so great, so tasty! So, what’s wrong with that? It’s God’s Word after all!

The problem is that you can find verses to support whatever you want to believe …… if used in isolation, but the Bible is to be viewed as a united whole. Context is always the key. How does that favourite verse of yours (your favourite chocolate) relate to the verses before and after it, and the context of the chapter it was written in, and to whom it was written? Verses out of context are just a pretext.

There is often an unacknowledged desire to make Bible verses about us individually. It certainly is written for you, but it isn’t written to you; there is a difference. We shouldn’t be reading the Bible like helping ourselves to our favourite chocolates and disregarding what we don’t like the look of. All of it is good for us and we need to find out what God is wanting to say to us, regardless of how much we might not like what He says at times (the taste).

We all need to be aware of not becoming “chocolate box Christians”. It is so important that we Study the Bible for ourselves. Be open to assessing what the context of verses really say, because, as the last bit of today’s verse tells us, Scripture also “corrects us when we are wrong…”

Enjoy the whole Bible, not just the bits you find the most appealing. You may be surprised how good the rest of it really tastes.

Prayer: Dear Lord. Thank You that Your Word is truth. Help me to be a good student of Your Word “…. a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15 ESV. May I seek to enjoy the whole of Your Word and allow it to speak to me, and not to be someone who just selects from it what I find most appealing. I don’t want Chocolate Box Christianity to be a feature of my walk with You. Amen.

Philip Asselin Philip is on the associate ministry and teaching teams at Glyndley Manor. He, and his wife Gillian, attended the second Healing Retreat at Glyndley Manor in 1992, and were greatly helped. They have two grown-up children, a daughter living locally and a son in California. They have two young grandchildren and one step-granddaughter. Their desire is to see people set free to serve God.

 

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