Friday, 14 December 2018

T The aim of tribulations

Insight and wisdom (Part 2)

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There is only one thing strong enough to break the power of a lie, and that is the truth. But not just the truth, because the truth itself can be useless when you don’t understand it and don’t know how to use it. In that case it is just knowledge. It is like watching a fire burn from behind a window. You can see it, you can see the people who are getting warm from it, you just aren’t able to feel it yourself. You are on the outside looking in. That is what pure knowledge is. When you’re cold, it’s not enough to know that a fire can warm you. It’s not enough just to look at the fire. You need to come near it in order to be warmed. Many assume that knowledge is enough. They feel free to interpret it however they want and start judging others according to it. It was in this light that Jesus said:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Matthew 7:1-5

Basically Jesus is telling us here that we should never judge based upon what we think we know and understand, based upon our own insight and wisdom. When we do that, God will use our own standard against us. And in our own standard is no mercy. In our own standard there is no room for error. In our own standard everything has to be perfect at once, without any room to learn and develop. It is the sort of standard that produces slaves, not sons. For what do we really know? Paul talked about this in 1 Corinthians 13:9-10, when he said: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” So when we base our judgments on what we think we know, we base it on something we know in part and on something that will be done away eventually. That isn’t really the smartest thing to do. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding
Proverbs 3:5

This is a very familiar verse from the Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David and king of Israel. But familiarity also sometimes causes us to miss things. The most important thing is not mentioned in the second half of the verse, but in the first half. I’m not only talking about trusting God, but about trusting Him with your heart. That goes way deeper than just trusting Him. It talks about acknowledging that we know nothing of our own and that we really need Him. The second we realize this is the moment we no longer trust on our own understanding. But when we do lean on our own understanding, all knowledge is wasted. Jesus talked about this in Matthew 7:6.

Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

Knowing Jesus means knowing that He never leaves us without a solution. Immediately after this verse, He pronounced one of the most familiar verses of the Bible.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

This has become one of my most favorite verses of the Bible, because it’s such a powerful key to those who understand it. It is the key to add insight and wisdom to your knowledge. God will never just give you insight, understanding and wisdom. He only shares His secrets with those who have the right attitude in their hearts. Every word you utter will be compared with what lives in your heart. If that doesn’t match, nothing happens. You will not be given, you will not find and the door will not open. God loves sincerity and hates insincerity. The proof of that can be found when we read about Solomon again. 

God told him the same thing. Ask whatever you want, and it shall be given to you. Instead of asking for his own riches or wellbeing, he was more concerned about doing the will of God, about doing what is right in His eyes. Therefore he asked for an understanding heart. The fact that he asked this instead of everything else that he could have asked, shows everything about his heart. That didn’t go unnoticed by God.

Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king— wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”
2 Chronicles 1:11-12

The attitude of Solomon is the exact same attitude that God wants to see in our lives. When we trust in God with all our heart, acknowledging that we know nothing of our own, all doors to insight and wisdom will open for us. Jesus handed us the keys. First we must ask, then we must search and then we must knock. God wants to give you the answers you’re looking for, whether it’s to understand a part in the Bible that you’re reading or answers for a situation in your life. Ask Him what you want. Then start searching in the Word of God. The knocking part means you don’t give up before you have what you’ve asked for. 

The thing God is looking for is perseverance. He wants to see if you really want it. Remember, your task is only to ask, to search and to knock. It is Gods part to give, to let you find what you’re looking for and to open the door for you. Obedience, perseverance and sincerity are the keys to insight and wisdom. It is God Who judges if your sincerity is real, while He searches your heart for it, hoping to find the same thing there that he hears from your mouth. If that turns out to be a match, He will give you the desire of your heart. 

Prayer

Lord, give me the grace and favor to be obedient, persevering and sincere. Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Thank you for not giving up on me.

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