In North Carolina this week we had to vote on an amendment that would add to our state constitution that the only domestic union we would recognize would be a marriage between one man & one woman. Wow - I had no idea this was going to be such a huge deal (on my facebook newsfeed!). This 'issue' really turned into something much bigger than a vote for legal matters in our state. It opened up a lot of people to really confront what it is they believe and what is important to them. I learned many lessons this week.
First, a logistical lesson that I learned about 4 years ago (during election 2008)... which I apparently forgot....
Self: do not process out politics/theology on open forums - including facebook! Even though you are sending the message/comments to your 'friends'... you forget that anybody/everybody can see them and those people don't know you or your heart. Process out political/theological issues with your Church & brothers and sisters in your community! I KNOW it's frustrating to only see one side and the 'other side' always seems so vocal and you'd like to engage in the conversations simply just so it's NOT one sided..... you don't even want to debate or argue - or convince others --- but you just want BOTH sides heard for the onlookers if nothing else!! Even if it's a good motive -- resist that temptation! Private message your believing friend online if you can not resist the urge to comment.
Second, don't forget that you definitely speak different and send a different message to a believer and a non believer about the Bible, sin, God, etc..... don't forget who you are talking to! Nonbelievers resist the Word & Truth....even if it's coming from a 'friend'... don't forget there is nothing you can say to them to open their heart. They especially are not open to your words when they are already on the defense because they have a viewpoint *they* are trying to convince others of. This is for sure one of those times when love stays silent.
In my quest for knowledge (sound doctrine even?)..... I must always remember that there is a balance in everything. (Yes God, I hear you..... AGAIN --- balance balance balance.) YES knowledge is important. God gave us brains and we must use them. We must not be scared to open our minds to new thoughts or viewpoints.... but let's always make sure as much as we are reading other's thoughts and viewpoints.... we are reading the Bible for ourselves that much more - and allowing Him to speak to our spirit directly. So what that we don't know the greek/hebrew and are probably missing so much..... even though we don't have the 72 inch plasma high definition --- we still have the little tv with rabbit years --- we might not be getting everything and seeing it for exactly what it is --- but we ARE getting the story line & bigger picture of what is going on!
Using our brains to understand more about God, more about His attributes & how He views us and the world is so important. So we must dig in, study, look at different interpretations, seek knowledge.... but let's just be honest here, Randi Jo, you are not an intellectual Bible scholar... that isn't how God lead you to the cross and that isn't the role He has you in, praise the Lord!! :)
As a Wife, Mommy & sister in Christ.... I don't have to be a theologian to have Christ dwell in me, do a great work in me and through me. Help me God not resent the place you have me.... and not to take it too lightly either.... In this beautiful season of life I am in, I have been stretched, molded and have grown more than any of my years of studying & seeking. When it comes down to it, I'm pretty sure that there are many things that can not be learned until they are lived out.... and LOVE is one of those. So many people can feel/seem so spiritual as they sit at home and read and write about all these things they are learning..... but it's worthless and they haven't grown at all until it's lived out in community!
I find it so encouraging that Jesus himself had things to learn. I found this profound scripture in Hebrews 5 that said, "Jesus learned obedience from what He suffered". Pretty awesome if you ask me. It doesn't mean He believed *wrong* things.... He was perfect & had perfect thinking.... but it means that there are some things that we can only learn through experience/suffering/obedience. That means that perfect doesn't mean you have NOTHING to learn -- how cool is that!? Jesus was perfect and Jesus Himself had things to learn... so this proves to me there are some things that can only be learned through experience!!! Love that. I must trust that God IS my shepherd and since I don't have the time (nor resources or brains!!!) to be a theologian right now --- I can trust that He is teaching me through my experiences, through life and my simple time with Him as I surrender to Him all throughout the day! I KNOW He is doing a great work in me, I see it, others see it --- I praise you God that you care more about changing my heart than you do filling my brain!! :)
I can so easily get bogged down & consumed in my search for truth. I can search and search and pray for God to give me enough knowledge in my brain to answer some question, "right".... but then at the end of it all.... there are many times where I just have to make a choice with that I believe - because it's not black & white. Many times I come to the end of all the information I can find.... and He has not revealed anything specific to me....and I am back to a realization He had taught me years ago - and that is simply that HE is the Truth. John 14:6. He doesn't ask me to figure out the answer to every moral & theological question presented to me - or even those that may be presented someday so that I can follow what He wants.... He asks me to follow HIM. Oh how quickly I forget, God. In my original Bible study I did with you when my journey really started, "what pleases you God?" ---- remember, the answer was not in my brain, my knowledge or even my morality.... the answer every time was Christ... and my surrender to/dependence on/devotion to Him!!! :)
What happened this week in all my crunching for answers and wanting so badly for things to be black & white.... was that I came to the profound thought that WOW --- if God wanted all of us to be really clear on everything and be totally unified in knowledge/brain..... then He wouldn't have given us the Bible in the form it is in. One day we will "see fully" but right now we only see in part.... and that is God's doing. Not only is all this disunity in interpretation.....(and all these grey areas) accepted by Him.... it was PLANNED by Him... This is exactly what we need to learn to LOVE others. This is exactly what we need to learn to find unity in HIM. To be unified in Spirit when not unified in brain/intellect.
If there were NO disagreements... there would be so need to work on unity. When there are disagreements.... it helps us focus on what we can all agree on - Christ, Christ crucified, Christ risen!! :)
And finally, my last take away from all of this comes from Beth Moore, So Long Insecurity that I've been reading through with my Friday night girlfriends. Apparently, I have an issue with wanting to be like God. I want to know everything He knows, I want to know all the answers that a human can have... even if the answer is, "we don't know"... apparently I'm a know it all and I didn't even know it!!
I have found that knowledge is an idol to me. It's a 'false positive'.... it's one of those things that I look for when I am feeling insecure.... and it's one of those things that can send me quickly on the road to insecurity when I feel I'm lacking it. When I'm anxious, when there's a grey area, when I feel I might be 'wrong' on an issue I'm standing for --- that can send me into a tunnel toward insecurity like very few things can. This fear to be 'wrong' is not from God. and I don't know why I fear being wrong. Do I really think that a loving Father would punish me because I don't understand something fully? He absolutely would not! As a good Father, Counselor & Shepherd, He will simply help me learn. God does not expect me to be perfect. Which means He does not expect me to know everything!! Hello! Which means He has grace for the things I *don't* understand since He is the one that reveals to me what I DO understand.
Please let this be a lesson that truly sinks into my soul this time, Lord. That my security is found in you alone, Christ. You alone are my security. My brain is not my security. My doctrinal accuracy is not my security. I am not saved because of my knowledge. I am saved because of my faith in you. I must remember that knowledge is great -- to support my heart --because the heart is central. And the heart is relationship. You can so easily change my knowledge...I've had major paradigm shifts in my knowledge after one reading...but I have found that changing my heart is what takes time. The heart is what is important.
Help me remember God that you created a beautiful balance in everything - including our search for Truth. Help me seek out knowledge in a healthy way. Help me process information better and more efficiently. Help me study the Bible better. But also help me remember that you didn't ask me to follow The Bible. You asked me to follow YOU. Help me focus on that relationship/your Spirit in me.... and trust that you will give me the knowledge/wisdom as I can handle it and as I need it. Help me not push through at my own pace but let me be patient with your pace. Remind me that I am learning all of the time as I walk with you. As I learn to surrender and yield to your Spirit more and more - the more I will learn and the biblical knowledge will come. I can't resent the pace you have set for my life right now. For now I must be okay with saying that I believe in the Bible and that every word is True whether I understand it or not.....I believe that I don't understand it and I have wrong thoughts about it.....and that's okay........and most of all, I believe in you!