Being a stay at home mom, I tend to notice big things, in little around the house sort of tasks. It happens quite frequently and I'm really glad that it does.
Yesterday I was folding a load of laundry and I noticed (much to my surprise) that a little throw pillow I had washed & dryed actually went through the dryer with a very small hole in one corner. That very small hole was just big enough to create a very large mess. On every article of clothing in that load were pieces of that pillow stuffing. I have no idea what its made of, but it was just sticky enough to stick to everything and create a mess for me. What was so surprisng was seeing just how much stuffing came out of that one little itsy bitsy hole in the corner of the pillow. I had a big pile on the living room floor and even a bigger mess in the lint filter inside the dryer.
For whatever reason, that little display made me think of doctrine. More specifically, how sound doctrine matters so much, and shouldn't be taken lightly. To get even more specific, the doctrine of sola Scriptura. I know that some folks might think its beating a dead horse to bring that up again but I don't. In fact, I don't think it can be mentioned enough in our day, and should be explored even deeper by every believer.
As I was cleaning up the mess made by the pillow, I tried to remember as best as I could, how I viewed the Scriptures before I ever heard of sola Scriptura, or really understood what it meant. I know I believed that the Bible was the inspired word of God, and I'm pretty sure (although I don't recall ever really giving it much intentional thought) I would have affirmed that as such, no other guide for our lives could be held on the same level as the Bible. But until I was actually presented with these doctrinal positions by another believer, I just never gave them a whole lot of consideration.
I thought about what I did give preference to back in those days, my pre-Calvinistic days, and it was more or less, more experience. More feelings, more of that emotional high I'd sense when someone told me the Holy Spirit was moving, working, blessing, etc. Being a new Christian I wanted more than anything to be where God was moving & working, and be in on whatever kind of fantastic & wonderful thing He was doing. I always thought it was due to my immaturity in Christ that I had to be told when the Holy Spirit was moving and when He wasn't, because I obviously didn't pick up on it, on my own. The focus for me back in those days was the experience of being a Christian in a vibrant and exciting church. It definitely was not searching the Scriptures like the Bereans did - that came later.
I have to wonder though, if part of the reason that I was so open (and a skeptic at the same time, and don't even ask me how that works out because I can't explain such a paradox) to all the emotional/spiritual excitement is because I wasn't grounded in the Word? Not that it's a bad thing to be emotionally charged up for the Lord, but to be that way and be so ignorant of what the Bible teaches does seem to me to be very dangerous territory. Especially if you (even subconciously) give just as much (or more) credence to your feelings and experiences, as you do the very little you do know about what the Bible says.
I thought again about the pillow. How one very small area of that pillow had something wrong with it, and it went unchecked and eventually created such a huge mess. If we're not diligent in our own Christian lives, we can become just like that pillow. That one little area that goes unchecked can have a domino affect on us and before we know it, we're all over the place in our worldview, our theology, and any other place you'd care to name.
Doctrine does matter, and it matters a great deal. If what we believe about our Heavenly Father comes straight from His own inspired word, then amen and praise God. But if what we believe or think we believe comes from anywhere else or in any way contradicts the inspired word of God, then we've got problems. What's more - we can't know if it does contradict, unless we do the work required to check it, by studying the Bible on our own time. To go even further, unless we hold the Bible as the only infallible and inerrant authority on these matters of life and godliness, then we're still on dangerous ground even if we do take the time required to study it. There are plenty (too many, if you ask me) of brilliant Bible scholars that deny the very souce of the Bible. They know plenty about what it says, they just don't
We can either be like the pillow with our doctrinal stuffing all over the floor in every direction, or we can be like the Bereans who received the word with eager and willing ears, but also checked what they'd heard against what the Scriptures teach. I know which I'd prefer to be, and I am just so grateful that He has convicted me to do this with not only things I hear, but with the things I think I already know.