Experience versus Scripture

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Over 150 years ago, the missionary George Bowen said, “All human experiences of Christians must be put to the test of scripture.”

This is a powerful statement, and it gives us pause to stop and ask ourselves some questions. Do our deepening fears stand the test of scripture? Does our wavering faith stand the test of scripture? Is there any form of doubting that stands the same test?

When circumstances become overwhelming and doubts enter our hearts, we tend to justify them because of trying experiences. We all experience pain, afflictions of all kinds and trials that threaten to crush us. When that happens, our souls are challenged. How do we react to it all? Will our reaction stand the test of scripture?

What are you facing in your life today? Financial troubles, unemployment, bad health problems, or anxiety attacks? How are you dealing with it? Does your present reaction measure up to scripture? For example, James 1:6 says, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (NKJV).

Do you pass over this scripture and go on wavering because of dire experiences? I think we all do, but this verse is not intended to condemn us. It is meant to encourage us to anchor ourselves to the Holy Spirit when we feel overwhelmed. God created us to reach out for him for help and strength, to cry out to him, to trust in him and to absorb his Word into our hearts.

I have wavered many times when my experience looked hopeless, but more and more, I ask the Holy Spirit to conform my experience to the test of scripture. Because our thoughts, emotions and even our physical circumstances are often unreliable, it is God’s Word that trumps all experience.

God help us all to test our feelings by the Word of God. Ask yourself, “Is this reaction scriptural? Do my emotions measure up to the Word?” If not, pray for strength to let go, and let God steer your vessel through the storm. Keep the faith!