Insight: Biochemistry, and how it relates to my walk with Jesus

I have a key stuck in the drivers’ door of my car. It’s not a car key. It kind of looks like one, and it sure slid into the keyhole(put there by a roommate while I was gone), but the thing will not come out. I even had one of those lock picking companies take a look at it. They said that, in order to get the key out, the lock would have to be removed from the car, disassembled, the key removed, and the lock reassembled. I promise, this plays in.

I am a college senior, studying pre-medical coursework as part of my health sciences degree. I don’t entirely plan on using my degree as I once intended, but I am completing the course work. This past semester that included a course in Biochemistry.

While staying at IHOP-KC over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had it weighing on my mind that a large biochemistry exam was looming shortly after I was to return home. That probably had something to do with this little bit of insight.

Poisons.

As part of my biochemistry coursework, the professor, who walks in relationship with Jesus, wanted to teach us application of the material. He often talked about how when he was an undergraduate student, he viewed his biochemistry material as a devotional in learning about the brilliance and creativity of the Lord, and His hidden wisdom. I guess I got a trinket of that… in the way some poisons work.

Who here has heard of enzymes? The basic idea is that there are a LOT of processes in our bodies just to make them live. These would be kind of slow, as they are based largely on chemical interactions that require lots of energy to occur, and some aren’t really favored on their own. Enzymes are a type of catalyst that make it a bit easier, kind of “jump start” those reactions. Something key about enzymes is their specificity – it’s not exactly lock-and-key, but close enough. Enzymes are typically for a specific substrate (the chemical compound that binds to it.)

As I said, these enzymes are crucial to key processes to make us live – such as metabolism, the process by which energy is made for our cells to function (maybe you remember learning glycolysis in biology class? Krebs/Citric Acid cycle, Electron Transport Chain..). Using that as an example, the entire system utilizes specific enzymes to do specific things to the substrates, each time creating a different product that then goes and reacts with the next enzyme, like a sort of Goldberg Machine.

Ok. So I mentioned poison earlier.

Poisons work by kind of lookin’ like they could be the right substrate. They fit into the “keyhole” of the enzyme. Kind of like that key stuck in my car door, they fit in, but then they can not proceed with the rest of the reaction (like that key can’t unlock my car door…) and then they just stay there, never leaving. They take up the free enzymes and thus, reactions cannot proceed as normal. I can’t unlock my car on the driver’s side. Imagine if there were a key stuck in both my driver’s and passenger’s side… then I’d just be stuck out of my car (I don’t have a clicker, and neither do our cells.) So, if there was a key stuck in all of the doors of my car, and the only way to unlock it was to use a key, then my car would be rendered effectively useless. That’s what poisons do. They come in, they look like they’d work, but then they just shut everything down and kill cells.

Here’s the thing, though. They only work because they look like the right thing. That key only ended up in my door because it’s a key, it looks like a key, if it was a nail file or a twig or a candy cane or something, it wouldn’t have been confused as something that was supposed to be in my car door. Ye savvy? Poisons only work ’cause they look like the substrate that’s supposed to bind. If it’s another compound that looks nothing like it, it ain’t gonna bind.

So where’s the revelation here?

Scriptural truth, and lies.

There’s those crazy folk out there doing things that just absolutely are off the wall. Maybe a small select few catch on, but it’s not really making waves. You know, like holding rattlesnakes, drinking kool-aid, picketing soldiers’ funerals, locking themselves up in bunkers, etc. That stuff automatically sends up red flags for most.

But when I read the words of Jesus, He talks about those who will come in His name, to lead astray even, if possible, the elect. He warns us to take heed of what we hear. The book of Jude, the letters to the churches in Revelation, the letters to Thessalonica, most of the New Testament, it’s all addressing those who came in the name of Jesus but without the Truth of Jesus. Like the sons of Sceva, they come in His name but without knowing Him, and they are powerless. But we are warned to be careful of those who use His name in vain. It’s possible to spread His name ineffectively! He said so. Why else would there be a command against taking His name in vain? He wants us to use His name in alignment with His character. When we accept the lie that is in His name (looks like a good thing,) but it’s not really of Him, then we poison ourselves, we poison our walk.

You know, I just have to say, we need to stop defining our theology by what the music on Christian radio says, by what our pastor says. We need to, like the Bereans, start looking at what Scripture says, and checking the teachings we are given against the Word of God. How can I say I am a Christian and not be consumed by the Word of God? I so love how Misty Edwards put it in a recent podcast:

There is no such thing as being a Christian without total allegiance to every word that Jesus said

He is NOT the God described in the trendiest song, if that song does not line up with Scripture. Just because it mentions His name does not mean it is talking about Him. Just because Christian radio picks it up and plays it, does NOT mean it is about Him. If it does not line itself up with Jesus as He is portrayed in the Word of God, it is not about Him, and it needs to be thrown out, or it is a poison that will kill your worldview and your walk with Him, and probably of those around you if you accept it and begin teaching it.

Any teaching, any and every teaching, that does not line itself up with the heart of God as expressed in the Word of God needs to be thrown out. It is the most dangerous thing. It is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is not ok. It’s simply not. What is greater wickedness than to misrepresent the heart of a Holy God? What is more fearful than to think you know Him, but to be wrong? There are so many instances of the people thinking they know God, but walking after their own way.

I so often hear people quote Paul  from Philippians 1, speaking of those preaching Jesus to increase his chains. Now, I’m just guessing here, but I am thinking that if Paul is saying they are preaching Jesus, then what Paul would mean by “preaching Jesus” is that these people are actually spreading the truth about Jesus in order to get Paul in more trouble, because if they were not spreading the same message as Paul, I find it doubtful that it would then be associated with Paul and thus used as a testimony against Paul. Does that make sense? I really doubt those who were preaching Jesus to increase the chains of Paul, those of whom Paul spoke, saying

“whether in pretense or truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice”

I highly doubt Paul would say the same thing of those preaching Jesus’ name for personal wealth. I highly doubt he’d rejoice so much over those talking of Jesus and ignoring the cross.

And even with Paul’s words in mind, even if I am wrong here in my interpretation of Paul’s situation, I have to say that we ought to stop interpreting Jesus’ words through the lens of Paul’s writings, that instead we ought to look at Paul’s writings through the lens of Jesus’ words. I don’t think we can take this one part of one letter of Paul and use it as an excuse to rejoice over those who preach His name without His character. We are still told by Jesus to discern against false prophets who come in His name. Many many times He warned this! Matthew 24!!! Mark 13! John 8 and John 10 show the character of Jesus, as He really is. John 16. Luke 17, Luke 21.

Jude. 2 Timothy 3, 2 Timothy 4.

We need the logos, the John 1 revelation of Jesus. We need to know Him as He is portrayed in the Word, in Truth. We need to clear our system of poison, and to stop ingesting it.

In John 17 Jesus said that eternal life is to know Jesus Christ. In Matthew 7, He says that many will come to Him and call Him Lord, and He will say

“depart from Me, I never knew you…”

We need to have The Master Locksmith come and take the lock out of our car door, and disassemble the entire thing, remove the key, and reassemble the lock so it is receptive to the Real Key. Fast from the outside influences. Fast from media, even Christian music, fast from TV, from magazines, from movies, from those voices telling you ideas about God, to take time to step away from those things, and to get with God and let Him show Himself as He is, but also to take the Word of God and to read with fresh eyes. To read it and cast off what you’ve been told about it, but instead to let Him tell you about it. To read the entirety of the Word, and to learn who He really is. To love the Psalm 2 God, the Isaiah 42 God, the Psalm 45 God, the book of Revelation God just as much as the Song of Solomon God, the Jesus on the Cross God… to realize He is Judge, the One who Justifies, He is Prince of Peace who is coming to make war on wickedness, that He loves righteousness and with the same fervency He hates wickedness, that He weeps over sin and yet He is anointed with the oil of gladness, that He is fearful yet His love casts out fear…

We need to be full of the Word of God, in Spirit and in truth… and to accept no lie… we need to define our belief about Jesus and the songs we will sing to Him and the way we will speak of Him based on the Word, NOT to define our interpretation of the Word based on the songs we hear or the things people have told us.

The Word must come first.

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