Thursday, May 28, 2020

Push Or Pull?

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

My first trip to Germany, in 1995, was wonderful, and on the day I arrived, I went to exchange some money.  But no matter how hard I pushed on the door to the bank, it would not open, even though I was sure that the sign on the door said push.  When I stepped aside to read the sign in the window, about when the bank would open, someone came out of the door, and I realized that the sign said “pull” and not “push”.  Even though I had previously taken some German language classes, and I even recognized the words, I had misunderstood what the sign said.

When you learn a second language, it takes some practice to get really good at it.  You may know some words in the other language, but you have to keep on developing your language skills to become proficient in the language.  This is similar to what it is like when interpreting the Bible.  Many people have read at least some of the Bible, but to become skilled in correctly interpreting it, we need to continue reading and studying the Bible to rightly divide, to correctly interpret, the Word of God so we are not trying to “push” when we should “pull”.

Paul told Timothy to be diligent, to make the effort, to be able to correctly interpret the Bible.  Just like my problem with the German bank sign, many people misinterpret the Bible because they think they know at a glance what the Bible is saying, but they have never really taken the time to study and “rightly divide the Word of truth”.  This is an area that every Christian can, and should develop in, and you don’t have to be a Bible scholar to do it.  We must study God’s Word to be able to correctly interpret it.  

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Growth And Development

"but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ -
from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."
Ephesians 4:15-16 (NKJV) 

When I was growing up, my parents did the same thing that a lot of parents do, they checked the growth of their children.  Our family had a spot in our house where at least once a year me and my three brothers would stand, and usually one of our parents would mark how tall we were.  We also had regular checkups with the doctor to see how we had grown as well as seeing how we had developed.  Just growing taller and getting older was not enough, there had to be some development along with the progression in height and age.

Growth and development are both important, naturally and spiritually.  Someone may have gotten born again ten years ago, but if there is no spiritual development in their life then something is wrong.  A Christian may have been in their church for many years, they may have been involved serving in the church in some way, and they may even know many Bible verses.  But, while this does show some growth, it is not necessarily showing any spiritual development.  As we see in Ephesians 4, we need to grow up spiritually and give our supply to the Body of Christ.

To have both spiritual growth and development in our life, we need more than just a number of years of being in a relationship with God.  Is our relationship with God stronger than ever before?  As we serve in our church, and even outside of the local church, is what we are doing making a positive contribution to what we are involved in, or are we just a warm body who fills a space?  We may know many Bible verses, but are we speaking the truth in love or just throwing verses at people to prove our personal point?  We need to check our spiritual growth and development to be sure we have both.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Knock Them All Down

"casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,"
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV)

Bowling is a game you play by rolling a ball to knock down what are called “pins”.  Some people are very good bowlers because they are able to knock the most pins down again and again.  It is never a good thing to only knock down some of the pins, and no one who was a good bowler would purposely miss any pins and intentionally leave them standing.  It would be foolish for a bowler to say for some reason that they liked one or more of the pins and avoid knocking them down.

Just like a successful bowler has the goal of knocking down all the pins, Christians should have the goal of knocking down every thought that is out of place and that tries to gain superiority over the knowledge of God, which we find in the Word of God.  Any idea that does not line up with God’s Word has to be dealt with and not allowed to remain as a part of our thinking.  The first thing in this process is to know what the Bible says, to know what the right kind of thought is and what is not.

When you are bowling, once you knock down all the pins down, they get set up again.  In the same way, the devil will try to fill our minds with the same wrong thoughts repeatedly.  How do we bring our thoughts "into captivity"?  First of all, we do not just let any thought float through our head unchallenged, we check every thought against what we find in the Bible.  Secondly, we fill our mind with the truth of God's Word and make that a continual process for the rest of our life.  Don't let any thought into your mind, don't let any thought exalt itself against the knowledge of God.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Basic Truth

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8 (NKJV) 

A basic truth is a fundamental principle that everyone needs to understand.  Something like the Law of Gravity could be called a basic truth.  If you do not understand the fundamental principle of gravity, you will have some serious problems.  Someone might say that they understand that the force of gravity exists in the world and they know how gravity works, but that same person does not really have a true appreciation of the Law of Gravity until they trip and fall down.  That is when the basic truth of gravity becomes a reality to them in their life.

A basic truth that everyone needs to know is how great God’s love for us really is.  Often this most basic of all truths is not really understood.  Many people have heard John 3:16 and they know that it says that God loved the world so much that God sent His Son, Jesus.  But if we don’t really have an accurate understanding of how much God loves us, how much He longs to help us and bless us, we will not have the kind of life that our loving Heavenly Father wants us to have.  He loves us more than we realize.

Some Christians act as though God just likes them because He is their Heavenly Father and He is obligated to do so, or that maybe God only tolerates them.  But this is so far from the truth of the great love that God has for us.  Romans 5:8 tells us that God’s love was so great, that even when we were sinners, when we were doing wrong, when we were really God’s enemies, that God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us.  God’s love for us is so great, He did everything He could possibly do to help us.  That is a basic truth we need to know and we can build our lives on.