Today’s society is flooded with disclaimers. It’s common to read: “The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the station or its management.” The basic reason is to prevent and deny any legal claim. For example, in case of a religious broadcast on a secular network, the station wants to disassociate itself from any possible legal entanglement if anything is said that may be offensive to the viewer.
Why my disclaimer? Am I trying to disassociate myself from “the views expressed”? Do I fear a legal claim because of possibly offending someone? Not at all! I do hold to my views and God’s word does offend at times. The reason for my disclaimer is the danger expressed by the Psalmist when he wrote: “I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me” (Ps. 131:1). In a sense, I do feel that I “occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.”
For example, I cannot properly convey the immense reality of God’s word. I fall short in doing so. It’s easy to believe and state certain Biblical truths without conveying and feeling them accordingly. I can write about God’s amazing grace without necessarily being astounded by it myself.
Also, with any form of communication, it’s easy to present an inaccurate picture of who we are. We normally want to present ourselves in the most favorable light. Yet, our outward communication may not be in harmony with our inward reality. I can easily say, “I love you,” without any depth of feeling.
Paul didn’t want anyone to “think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me” (2 Cor. 12:6). He didn’t want people to have an elevated view of him. In his book Knowing God, J.I. Packer quoted C.S. Lewis: “’Those like myself,’ wrote C.S. Lewis, ‘whose imagination far exceeds their obedience are subject to a just penalty; we easily imagine conditions far higher than any we have really reached. If we describe what we have imagined we may make others, and make ourselves, believe that we have really been there’—and so fool both them and ourselves.” Packer then continued: “All readers and writers of devotional literature do well to weigh Lewis’s words.”
Why then write, lest I may be somewhat hypocritical—not always deeply feeling and experiencing what I communicate? Why write about something that’s “too great and too marvelous for me,” without having the full corresponding reality in my life? There are many reasons to still write.
First, God’s truth is God’s truth. Whether or not I always deeply feel and experience His truth in my life doesn’t diminish anything from it. In meditating and communicating His word, we’re confronted, convicted, challenged, and comforted by His truth.
Second, I want to pursue truth and reality. There’s no greater tragedy than living in a (lifelong) deception. So, while I might not have reached the top of this mountain, perhaps still at the very bottom, I’m climbing toward it, pressing on “to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. . . . straining forward to what lies ahead” (Phil. 3:12-13).
Third, writing can convey sinful experiences for the good of others. No one will blame or accuse a careless person, having just fallen into a ditch, when shouting, “don’t’ come near the ditch, lest you fall into it.” While I may bear blame for not having all the proper attitudes and actions while writing, it can still function for the good of others.
Fourth, God justifies the ungodly. Paul wrote: “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). By faith in Jesus, He declares me righteous on account of Christ alone, though still having many sins and inward corruptions.
Fifth, God’s still at work in me. A bumper sticker reads: “Christians are not perfect, just forgiven.” There’s no claim to perfection at all, but a claim to an utter need for a mighty Savior. In my writing, I feel a deep need for Jesus to save and sanctify me, bringing me safely to His eternal home.
Sixth, God’s word is the primary means of sanctification. In Ephesians we read: “That he [Jesus] might sanctify her [the believers], having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (Eph. 5:26). God’s word is a means to an end. While not having reached the “end” at all, I want to use His means. I need to be cleansed from the vanities of life so that I’ll pursue eternal gold.
Seventh, God has promised to write His word on our hearts and put it in our minds. He does so through His Word and Spirit. Therefore, my hope and prayer is that the handling of His word will have that outcome in my life and the lives of those who read my devotionals.
Lastly, no one chastises a child who’s still learning to speak, but rather encourages him to do so. Here are my feeble, imperfect words and experiences, trying to convey truth and reality for the salvation of sinners and the sanctification of saints. May God bless and multiply them!
I want to close with Charles Spurgeon’s illustration in All of Grace: “A certain man places a fountain by the wayside, and he hung up a cup near to it by a little chain. He was told some time after that a great art-critic had found much fault with its design. ‘But,’ said he, ‘do many thirsty persons drink at it?’ Then they told him that thousands of poor people, men, women, and children, slaked their thirst at this fountain; and he smiled and said, that he was little troubled by the critic’s observation, only he hoped that on some sultry summer’s day the critic himself might fill the cup, and be refreshed, and praise the name of the Lord.” Spurgeon then stated: “Here is my fountain, and here is my cup: find fault if you please; but do drink of the water of life.”