Kites without Strings

The Kite Festival at Lincoln City on the Oregon coast is worth a visit. Hundreds of multi-colored kites in an unbelievable range of designs swoop and swirl between blue sky and golden sand. The simple ones tug on a single string. Skilled flyers maneuver the larger and more complex models using two or more strong lines. The string might seem to tether the kite to its earth-bound owner. In fact it holds the kite in the wind at the right angle to soar. Tugging it, the owner gently tilts the kite to make it twist and dive in the breeze. If a string snaps the kite will float on the wind for a while but then will lose its aerodynamics and flutter to the ground.

Christians are like kites.

This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. (2 Peter 3:1-2)

We live in an age when more and more people are detaching their Christianity from Scripture. Personal opinions often carry more weight than Scripture. Yet the Bible remains our only legitimate and objective standard of spiritual truth. Consider the two parts of the Bible: God’s primary purpose for the Old Testament is to point us to Jesus; the New Testament is based on eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and points out the implications of those historical events for the Christian life. That division fits Peter’s breakdown. Much of the Old Testament was penned by or about prophets like Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and many others. Most of the apostles were men who had been with Jesus from His baptism until His ascension. Jesus’ ministry and His miraculous resurrection electrified them. They were compelled to speak and write about Jesus regardless of any personal cost to them. Our New Testament is the result. The Bible is the message about Jesus and our new life with Him.

Peter knew the importance of the message for the Christian life; he urges us to remember the words that now form our Bible. So what do those words of the prophets say? And what are the commandments of Jesus? In the original languages there are about half a million words.1 Can and should we condense them into a few memorable messages?

I suggest that we must approach Scripture in two ways. First, make a habit of reading portions of the Bible every day. Have a plan so that you eventually read through the entire Bible. One year is manageable for many people.2 Take longer if you need to. Second, ask Him for specific passages relevant to your current situation. God speaks to us in the details of His word, but He also communicates through the bigger messages.

Occasionally I hear people grumble about the Bible as though it is boring, out of date, and somehow restricts the refreshing breeze of the Holy Spirit. I’m excited to see the Spirit move too, but the Spirit will never do or say anything that is not consistent with Scripture. The word of God is like the string of a kite. Through it the Lord can direct every action and word of His people. The Bible anchors us in the current of God’s purposes. Floating with the wind of the Spirit with no connection to God’s word might feel like freedom but it eventually comes to a sad end. Christian kites without strings sail jubilantly into the heavens only to exit the spiritual wind. In the doldrums they sag and flop to earth in a confused heap wondering what it was all about. The wind of the Spirit is certainly blowing and is touching many lives with the love, truth, and power of God. But it never blows believers beyond the reach of the Bible. Christian kites held in the wind of the Spirit by the living word of God are a spectacular display of the life that God intends for His people.

The goal of Bible Maturity is to promote spiritual growth and faith in God. Please share these short Bible devotions with your friends and family and pray for revival.

  1. Hebrew and Greek are more concise and expressive languages than English. Our versions run to about three quarters of a million words. []
  2. It requires reading about three chapters each day. []

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