Theology Fuels a Broken Hallelujah
by Sharon Betters
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.
1 Peter 2:2
Last week we took a quick look at Paul and Silas singing at midnight. Acts 16 tells their story. They were arrested under false pretenses; they were severely beaten, thrown into the inner prison and locked in stocks. In physical pain and unable to find a comfortable position, around midnight Paul and Silas began singing and praying praises to God. How could they do this? What compelled them to loudly praise God when surely their circumstances screamed that God had lost control?
The theology of Paul and Silas mattered. Before you tune me out because theology sounds boring, let’s define theology. Simply put, theology is a study of God. Every one of us is a theologian, for good or bad. Each of us has a view of God and His character. Many of us have accepted what others say about God rather than studying about Him ourselves. In the midnight of my life, I soon recognized that my view of God would determine my response to the darkness.
Dr. J. I. Packer wrote:
“Knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives... We are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life, blindfold, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.”
There is danger in any theology that does not transform our hearts and turn us toward Jesus in repentance and gratitude for His sacrifice. How often I have listened to sermons or read books, theologically correct but with no declaration of the incredible glory of God. Rather than filling our souls with joy and compelling us to respond with hearts longing for more of Jesus and a determination to reflect Him, we leave with dry dust that clutters our minds with knowledge but not transformation. We might think we have all our i’s dotted and t’s crossed theologically but our hearts remain unchanged and overwhelmed by mere knowledge. If that is true of you, you have not grasped the supernatural glory of the love of our God that helps turn our hearts toward Him in the mundane or broken places of life.
Paul and Silas drew on their theology in that dark, damp prison cell. In response to their theology, to their understanding of the character of God and the priceless gift of Jesus, praise and worship flowed at midnight.
It’s possible that you are just starting your journey with Jesus so the idea of theology and understanding doctrine overwhelms you. Maybe circumstances have thrown everything you believe into the Refiner’s Fire and you’re not sure where you will land. Though you attend church and served in your church all your life, your theology doesn’t seem to be working in the darkness. As we review some of the great doctrines that pushed hallelujah through the hearts of Paul and Silas, remember Job. His suffering transformed his understanding of the character of God.
What is your theology? It matters.
Treasured by Him,