Originally published Tuesday, 03 June 2014.
I grew up going to church every week. I went to Sunday School, youth group, Vacation Bible School, and summer church camp. In high school, I went to a Christian school. In college, I went to Christian college; the same for graduate school.
In truth, I’ve heard the Bible over and over and learned more theology than your average church goer. Sometimes people look at theology and think it’s only for pastors and theologians. We wonder why it matters in our daily life of work, marriage, and parenthood. If given the choice, we’d rather read books on how to get our kids to listen than on topics like the atonement or soteriology.
But here’s what I know to be true: theology matters. What we believe about God, the Bible, who we are, how we came to be the way we are, what God has done for us through Christ, it all matters. And it matters most in our daily lives.
When theology and our daily life intersect, everything comes full circle. Theology becomes a living thing. It moves off the page and becomes bigger than mere words with multiple syllables that we trip over in our pronunciation. Truths like sovereignty, substitutionary atonement, justification, and sanctification, all step forward and provide meaning to the challenges of life. They anchor and ground us. They are a firm foundation for our lives, stabilizing us when the storms of life swirl around us.
Theology is important but it must also be true theology. If what we believe intersects with our daily life and falters under the weigh of it, our theology just might not be built of solid truth. A shaky foundation cannot withstand a ferocious storm and neither will weak theology.
I've had many occasions in my life where what I know about God has had to stand before the storms of life. Sometimes it has revealed that what I thought was true was in fact not true. It was not based on God's word but on mistruths I had picked up on my own. These were hard times for sure but they ultimately pushed me to seek the truth in God's Word. Other times, I found that it was my theology that kept me afloat when life threatened to suck me under, affirming that God's Word is true and dependable.
Like our life in recent weeks...
Upon our return from Nicaragua, we preceded to each get sick, one after another. A strange cold-like virus we picked up while out of the country kept us at home for nearly two weeks. To be honest, I had not planned for two weeks of my life to be taken away. I had plans, places to go, and things to do. We missed end of the year events, time with friends and family, even Mother’s Day was a disappointment.
But this is where the rubber meets the road and where my theology ran smack into my real life. Because I believe that God is in absolute sovereign control over all things, getting sick and cancelling plans did not shake me. Scripture tells me that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). I know that even illnesses God orchestrates for my good and his glory. I also know that when bad things happen, God is not out to get me, he is not getting retribution against me for sin in my life. Romans 8:1 says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." All of God’s wrath was poured out on Christ at the cross, there is none left for me. So when troubles come my way, it may be a form of discipline or training, but it is not God's anger poured out on me. And so I can rest and find comfort in his sovereign care and control.
I know too that God loves me as much as he loves his Son (John 17:23). He is transforming me into Christ’s likeness. These interruptions to my life and my plans are opportunities for me to learn and grow. They come to me out of God’s great love for me and from his perfect, righteous, and holy intentions. He is good and all that he does is good and I can trust him.
These are just some of the theological truths that anchor me when things happen in my life, whether big or small.
And you know what? Those two weeks of sickness turned out to be a sweet time for our family. We loved and served one another, even the kids served and helped me while I was sick. We grew closer. Time slowed down. There was nothing on the agenda anymore. We played games, rested, listened to music, talked, and watched movies.
Theology does matter. It matters in our every day. It forms and shapes our beliefs and our thoughts. It carries us through the challenges of life. So learn. Grow. Seek understanding and wisdom. Study Scripture to learn as much as you can about who God is, who you are, and what he has done for you through Christ. Build your house on rock and not on sand. For storms will come and when they do, your heart will be prepared with the truth, a truth that can hold you steady when the winds blow and the rains pour down.
The question is, does theology matter to you?