I had a student come up to me today, frustrated with her math book. It seems that the student who used it the year before had done a lot of work in the book, and there were scribblings throughout the practice problems. She said that it wouldn’t have bothered her so much if she knew that the previous student was 100% correct – all the time. She didn’t know what she could trust so she couldn’t trust anything. I gave her a new book.
I was talking to a man the other day who was really struggling with depression. Since I’ve struggled with it myself, I was able to help him a bit. I told him that one of the biggest turnarounds for me was when I took all my commentaries and devotional books and set them aside. Then I got a Bible that had no “words of man” inside and started reading. And reading. I needed to hear God’s Voice. Sola Dei. Only God. One of the problems with depression is that there are too many voices speaking to you. Including your own.
I had to eliminate the scribblings of man – at least for awhile. Not because I believe fellow brothers can’t help with their thoughts and interpretations, of course they can. But I was desperate, and when you’re desperate you need to know the truth 100%. You can’t be questioning what you can trust. Even the chapters and verses were added a thousand years after they were written – even those are the additions of well-intentioned man.
Recently I dealt with a young man who was really struggling, to the point where he felt the oppression of a personal demon. After spending time with him, sitting in his room filled with the “scribblings of man” (dream catchers, serenity rocks and other trinkets he was using to try to ease his pain) I realized what this kid needed was simply this: Pure Christ. He needed to get rid of all of these things and allow the fullness of Christ to consume him.
Strip it all away. Clear off the table. Get back to the words of Christ.