Apparently, the Bible tells us we are terrifying and amazing all at the same time. I’ve heard this said too many times to count in sermons, bible studies, books, and conferences. As a Youth Pastor I have even said this to my students so they would not examine themselves in a lens that Christ disagrees with. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made! … You are so complex and dangerous to the mundane and evil things of this world! You are able to accomplish terrifyingly awesome feats! …. You are not ugly and disfigured, but wonderfully made! You are not socially awkward or annoying, you are wonderful and if others make fun of you then they just don’t get it! Because God says you are fearfully and wonderfully made.”…
But let’s look at what scripture really means: We are fearfully and wonderfully made, but not for any of the reasons mentioned in the paragraph above. This is a classic way we can often read scripture out of context to benefit our self being.
Psalm 139, written by King David, and is an amazing piece of scripture. To paraphrase it:
God knows all the future, past, and present things about you, including your thoughts and feelings. God made you in your mother’s womb. God’s power has no limit. I will love who God loves and I will hate who God hates. Search my intentions and lead me away from any evil that I may live well for you, God.
When the scope of the entire psalm is displayed we can clearly see the intention is to express the superiority and limitless nature of God and His grace and mercy over our lives. When we read scripture, I believe we forget two important things. Not just two, but for the sake of me writing a blog post I’ll stick to two.
Someone wrote it
Read scripture to know God, not to glorify yourself
Who the author is matters. Take this example, if I receive a text that says “You’re so funny and handsome, you deserve all the kisses!” and I think it’s from my friend David Reyes, there are going to be some immediate issues! But if I think it’s from my wife, this is the best text I’ve received all day! Now, I know my wife’s and David’s intentions when they communicate to me. So, for scripture we should note who wrote it and what were their intentions. This defines what the scripture is about. Now we can start discovering the fruitfulness of it and what we need to know!
Often, we have a bad habit when we hear Biblical teachings because everything boils down to: “What does it do for me?” In a way we are trained to think this way. If you think about all the ways we receive information most of the drive behind seeking it, or even paying attention to the information, is based on the value you get out of it. But with the Bible we forget that it’s not a newsfeed or a “Best Of” quotes from God and His inner circle. 2 Timothy 3 says scripture is breathed out by God. The Bible is not a vending machine of encouraging thoughts or ideas tailored for your life. It’s a communication of God with mankind that we could know God and His intentions. Meaning, there is indeed encouragement and uplifting thoughts for you, but there is also correction, lessons, and stories meant to lead you closer to God and the truth of Christ that you could walk according to His call.
All this to say, God did fearfully and wonderfully make you! But my intention for this blog post is for you to know that it is not that you are fearful or wonderful. Rather, God, the one who made you is! Let your life reflect the scriptures in it’s intention! I pray God will search, lead and refine us into the person He is calling us to be!