A child can certainly interpret the experiences of life with funny perspectives at times. Your children and grandchildren do quite often, and you and I both are quick to share with others those funny and cutesy conclusions they make.
Recently, after their Thanksgiving Day visit, Jeshua and his family set out on their return trip to home in Williamsburg, Virginia. A few days later, Jesh emailed to me the following account concerning a certain interpretation four year-old daughter, Elena, had made along the way:
“The other day driving home from Mason, we got stopped near Ripley for road construction. After a 15-minute stop, we had to drive past where new pavement had been put down. The odor from it was very strong.
“Suddenly, Elena burst out, ‘Ewww, Mommy! It stinks in here! Why did you do that?’
Megan replied, “Oh, Honey. It was just the asphalt.”
But, Elena shot back, “Oh, no, Mommy! It was your fault!”
“It hit us like a ton of brick when we realized what she had said, and we both laughed hard at how she had interpreted the asphalt odor.”
Without a doubt, if one does not apply correct interpretation to things that we need to consider, misperceptions abound. Such is especially true as it concerns the spiritual truths of the Word of God.
For example, if we fail to interpret the Scriptures on the basis of Jesus Christ, we get a lot of spiritual beliefs wrong. The Jews of Old Testament times did. They failed to interpret Scripture in terms of Jesus Christ, believing in doctrines based upon corrupted misinterpretation. The Lord said to them, “Search the Scripture…they are they which testify of me.”
The correct interpretation of Scripture is always based upon who Jesus Christ is, what Jesus Christ did on the Cross and through the Resurrection, and what Jesus Christ is doing by way of making intercession for us at God’s right hand. To prioritize Scriptural interpretation upon Jesus Christ is imperative.
Second, if we fail to interpret the issue of Salvation based upon the Deity of Jesus Christ we will misinterpret the proper way of Salvation. The Deity of Jesus Christ refers to the fact that Jesus Christ is actually God in the Flesh. There are those who lower the divine status of Jesus Christ in what they believe, and, when that is done, any type of system can be devised for a salvation based on what man does, not what God has done through His Son. If salvation is viewed in terms of what we do, the salvation mark is grossly missed.
What God wants us to understand is that He did for us what we could not do for ourselves when it comes to our salvation. He wants us to believe completely in Him, and rely completely on Him for salvation.
As God the Son, He provided a perfect salvation, which needs no help from us. He as much affirmed the same Himself when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to be Father but by me.” It is imperative that we see it that way, too.
A critical point of applying correct interpretation has to do with our lives and our living. In other words, if we view ourselves independent of living the way Jesus Christ would have us to live, then our interpretation of life is corrupted indeed. We need to consider our living as being for His honor and glory.
The Apostle Paul had a strong affinity for this quality of interpretation for his life, for he testified, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”
Where the water meets the wheel is that life and belief is best qualified in terms of Jesus Christ. He provides the best results for how we should see things.
In the mean time, Terry and I have wondered why Elena blamed her mother instead of her father. That itself makes me laugh.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.