We Fail When We Start from the Wrong Place

I was recently listening to a podcast that discussed issues related to apologetics, and in an interesting combination, the issue of addiction and counseling. The speaker shared with us a reminder that is tremendously significant for Christians who want to help others either with the gospel or with counsel. If our conversation does not begin with a biblical understanding of humanity and the human condition, or if our conversation does not begin with a biblical understanding of the reality of the world we live in, our conversation will not lead where we want it to go. Or, if our conversation does get us where we want to go, it will be in spite of and not because of our strategy.

That thought came again to me as I was reading through Psalm 89. Verse 11 says, “The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.” In the middle of the psalmist discussing what was going on with the world around Judea and the throne of King David, he lays down this glorious truth that has to be our starting point for genuinely helpful thinking. The world belongs to God. God made it. God owns it.

Consider how different your thinking is when you start from that point. God created the universe. The earth and all that is in it belong to him. Consider the moral issues that people want to debate. They ask why this is not OK or how we can dare say that another thing is the only way. While we can argue back and forth for a long time, the answer is bound up in two truths. First, God owns us all. WE are made by him and for him. We owe him our allegiance. And second, God has revealed his ways to us in his word.

So, why is Jesus the only way? God made us and that is what God chose to do. Why are certain actions sin, even if the world around us says differently? God made us, and his word tells us that he calls such things sin.

I’m not here suggesting that we be nasty to people as we have these conversations. Nor am I suggesting that we will do well to refuse to engage in discussions that go further than these points. But I am suggesting that, for you and me as believers, if we start from a different place, if we start from a worldview that is other than the claim that God is our Creator who has spoken to us in his word, we will have a hard time ending up in a place of truth.

And for you and me as Christians, even outside of evangelism, apologetics, and counseling, we need to remember that those starting points are big for us too. Why worship? Why sing if we do not enjoy singing? Why read the Bible if we do not enjoy reading? Why attend church if we are not feeling up for it? The answer begins with the fact that God created the universe, God is our Lord, God owns everything. The answer continues through the fact that God has revealed how he will be worshipped in his word. And we submit to our God who has spoken in his word. That is our source of joy and life.