By LESLIE LUDY
There is a lot of talk these days about being “open-minded.” Having an “open-mind” means being willing to entertain other people’s beliefs and ideas, and even to adopt them as your own if they “feel right” to you. Not being open-minded immediately puts you in the category of being old-fashioned, stiff, and stodgy, not to mention unloving and judgmental. Why would any of us want to take on that kind of label?
But in order to have our feet planted firmly upon the solid rock of Christ, we must acknowledge that any human thought, idea, belief, or philosophy that does not agree with the timeless Truth of God’s Word is erroneous and worthless.
So does that mean we are to be “close-minded” – never willing to hear another person’s ideas, always having to “be right”, and staunchly holding our position in a prideful, arrogant way? No. We must exchange an “open-mind”, not for a “closed-mind”, but for a Canon-mind. (Canon simply means the sixty-six books of Scripture.)
Having a Canon-mind means that you implicitly trust God’s definition of reality, you are exclusively devoted to God’s opinions and commands, and you are closed to all other thoughts, ideas or philosophies that would lead you to take on another reality other than His. The Canon-mind is built upon the conviction that God’s Word is the perfect revelation of fact. It cannot lie, and it is 100% Truth. When you have a Canon-mind, you know that God intends His Word to be comprehended, understood, and lived out by His saints. When you have a Canon-mind, you are not staunch and arrogant in your own convictions. Rather, you are simply not open to any thought or definition of reality that is not 100% concurrent with the revelation of God’s Word.
How do you develop a Canon-mind? It begins with the decision to take God’s Word as fact. If God said it, and He cannot lie, then there is nothing more to argue. Once you have settled it in your heart that Scripture is Truth and that the Bible is reality, the next step is to know and love the Word of God. Too many of us are susceptible to error simply because we are ignorant of what the Bible actually says. Set aside some purposeful time each day to study and meditate upon God’s Word. Learn how to explore Scripture and delve deep into God’s meaning behind every verse. Use tools such as inductive Bible study courses and Bible websites such as www.blueletterbible.org which can help you learn to use concordances and study the Greek and Hebrew roots of each word in the Bible. Download an audio version of the Bible (we personally like The Word of Promise) and listen to it around the house, in your car, and even while you are falling asleep at night. Spend time around other believers who revere and love the Word of God. Talk about what you are learning in Scripture and listen to what they are learning. Ask God’s Spirit to make His timeless Word truly come alive to you.
As you begin to make God’s Word the foundation of your life, practice applying specific truths, commands, and promises to situations you face each day. Memorize some key verses to help you immediately combat lies with Truth. For instance, if you struggle with the temptation to hold on to offenses, memorize verses such as “love is not easily angered” (1 Cor. 13:5) or “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32.) (Yes, it is the enabling power of God that will actually equip you to live out these commands, but you can’t live out God’s Truth if you don’t first know what it is!) No matter what your circumstances or struggles, there is always an answer that can be found in the Word of God. If you cannot find one immediately, begin to search for it as if you were searching for hidden treasure, and ask God to guide you as you look to His Truth for answers.
For a beautiful and inspiring vision of the way we are to interact with God’s Word, take some time to read through Psalm 119. As you fall in love with Scripture and cultivate a Canon-mind, you will soon find yourself standing upon a Rock that cannot be moved.