Posts Tagged ‘HolySpirit’

(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. – John 8:32

– Pilate said unto him (Jesus), “What is truth?” – John 18:38

A man is on trial for murder.  Under oath, many witnesses come forth to give complete and truthful testimony.  The jury then goes to deliberate.  A unanimous guilty verdict is reached.  When the sentence is handed down by the judge – it’s death. A pardon is out of the question.  There is no escape.

Truth has not freed him  So how can God’s truth set us free?  From what?  This man was going to die because of it.  Outside of prison before his crime, he wasn’t in bondage to anyone – now he was bound to die by truth.  By our understanding, knowing truth this way doesn’t make much sense (Proverbs 3:5-6).

The Jews who Jesus was speaking to (lead verse), also could not figure out what Christ was talking about in regards to truth.  How could it free them if they had never been in bondage to any man?  They could not believe anything Jesus was telling them about truth (John 8:33,45-46).

Truth can set us free – or sentence us to die.  How can it possibly be both?  Because truth is a judgment – a verdict.  It’s saying something is or isn’t – without any room for doubt.  Isn’t that what we really want from truth?  Isn’t it why we want people to tell the whole truth and nothing but it in court?

The word verdict comes from the old Anglo-French “verdit” – meaning “to say a truth”.  Christ often prefaced parables and teachings with the word “verily”, or “truly”.  It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18), so Jesus could only say what was true – or wasn’t – without error.

We are all appointed once to die (Hebrews 9:27).  It’s God’s verdict against us from our very first day on earth.  Although He has not appointed us to wrath, Scripture has concluded all are under sin – carrying with it the sentence of death (1 Thessalonians 5:9, Galatians 3:22, 2 Corinthians 1:9).

Our Father hung the only truth on the Cross.  So we would no longer trust in ourselves, nor in our desperately wicked and deceitful heats any more – but in the One who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:9, Jeremiah 17:9, Proverbs 28:26).  We can’t deliver ourselves from the grave.

By God’s grace Christ tasted death for all men (Hebrews 2:9).  Jesus took the place of sin on the Cross.  Christ became our pardon from death, becoming the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for the sins of the world – while we were all yet sinners (1 John 2:2, Romans 5:8).

Jesus took part of flesh and blood like us, so through death he might destroy him who had the power of death – the devil.  To deliver us all from our fear of death, which we are in bondage to all our lives.  To free us from death’s finality, through God’s truth (Hebrews 2:14-15).

We’ve been turned from the power of darkness, and the father of all lies (John 8:44, Acts 26:18), unto the promise of deliverance through our Father’s truth.  But, death will be the last enemy to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26).  We’re not free from the devil yet (1 Peter 5:8-9).

We will be freed from the grave by God’s grace – and through our faith in Jesus.  However, this grace will brought to us at the revelation of Christ (1 Peter 1:13).  We are not free in the meantime to grieve God by sinning more as believers – so His grace can abound more (Romans 6:1).

Whenever there is new-found freedom in life, there is the very real potential of it being abused and misused.  The meaning of liberty can be lost through misinterpretation.  Between what the grantor or giver of it intended – and what the recipient decides for themselves it means.

Discipline gets degraded this way.  Teenagers who first get their license to drive may often feel like they can go anywhere – and do anything they want, because their travels are no longer under direct parental oversight.  It is a similar scene when kids leave home for college.

We have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us by faith as believers (Ephesians 3:17).  Jesus Christ is that Spirit – and where the Spirit is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17).  We are to stand fast – not becoming entangled again in a yoke of bondage to this world (Galatians 5:1, 2 Corinthians 7:10).

We have been freed from the pollution of this world – by the Word of truth.  This is by knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – who overcame the world (John 16:33).  If we become entangled in it again and overcome – our end is worse than the beginning (2 Peter 2:20-21).

The Lord’s liberty is not a license to turn us loose, and turn His grace into lasciviousness (Jude 4).  God tells us to take heed, lest our freedom become a stumbling block to those who are weak (1 Corinthians 8:9).  It is not to be used as a covering for evil either (2 Peter 2:16).

We are to use this liberty to be God’s servants. Serving Him by serving one another in love (2 Peter 2:16, Galatians 5:13).  If we look into this perfect law of liberty and continue in it – not being forgetful hearers, but doers of the work – we shall be blessed in our deeds (James 1:25).

Once creatures, we’ve been delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of becoming God’s children (Romans 8:21).  If we use free will to sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of His truth – we’re not wise.  There is no more sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:26).

God brings His judgement to light every morning (Zephaniah 3:5).  A verdict is reached as to whether His mercy will keep us waking each day – or if we are cut off without remedy (Zephaniah 3:5, Lamentations 3:22-23, Proverbs 29:1).  It is His truth which continually preserves us (Psalm 40:11).

If the Son has set us free, we are free indeed (John 8:36).  However, we have to remain steadfast in our faith until the end to be made partakers of Christ (Hebrews 3:6,14).  If we ever hold God’s truth in unrighteousness, we can become subject to His wrath (Romans 1:18).

We can start serving the creature again – more than the Creator – turning His truth back to a lie (Romans 1:25).  Having been enlightened, and having tasted of the heavenly gift, we can still fall away to where it’s impossible for God to renew us again to repentance (Hebrews 6:4-6).

This is like hanging Christ back on the Cross and subjecting God to open shame (Hebrews 6:6).  For things such as these, He has the power to turn us over to reprobate minds – and do things we might think we could never do  – and long to be free of once again (Romans 1:28-32).

Witnesses came forth in the first paragraph above – their truthful testimony meant a mortal man would be killed for his crime.  Though Christ gave truthful testimony about mortal man, some wanted to kill him, for committing nothing worthy of death (John 8:40, Luke 23:15).

Man’s testimony in a human court can send a man to die.  God’s testimony from His heavenly court; the crucifixion and resurrection of His only Son – sets us free from death.  It doesn’t set us free to do whatever we want in the world – or with the Word – as Christians.

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. – 2 Corinthians 11:14

– But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.  In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them who don’t believe – lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God – should shine unto them. – 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

Someone once said we should be always careful if we think we see a bright light at the end of a tunnel – for it could be the headlight on the front of a locomotive coming the other way. Bright lights can be beautiful and beckoning – but also dangerous and deceiving.  They can appear to be receiving and righteous – and we can walk right into a wreck.  They can summon us to fun – a word found nowhere in KJV Scripture.

In the song “Blinded by the Light” written by Bruce Springsteen, there are these lyrics, “Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun – but Mama, that’s where the fun is.” Having as much fun as we can under the sun – is not why we’re Christians. However, we should not marvel, for Satan is transformed into an angel of light (lead verse) – and his ministers into ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:15).

Satan is the deceiver of the whole world – the father of all lies (Revelation 12:9, John 8:44).  These lies can seem very bright and right – like luring lights – but they deceive us because they often look like fun for a while.  It won’t hurt, will it – to enjoy the pleasures of sin for another season (Hebrews 11:25)?  How much more enticing and inviting do the multi-colored and spinning lights of a carnival or county fair look in the evening, than during the day?

Las Vegas can look almost lifeless in the lazy afternoon hours after lunch.  However, when the bright lights on the strip start to shimmer and sparkle just before sundown, people start emerging forth from their hotel rooms – like moths to a flame – only to end up getting burned.  One tempting thing leads to another – and one is in trouble financially or romantically before they know it.  People may think it stays in Vegas, but God has seen it all (Psalm 139:3).

Digging ourselves out of these holes can be much more work than staying grounded and rooted in Christ (Ephesians 3:17). Isn’t reversing a wrong much harder than remaining in a right? We can either choose to suffer the afflictions of God’s people (Hebrews 11:25) – or succumb to an affinity with the world (1 John 2:15).  Do we really expect spiritual growth to occur by doing both (1 Corinthians 10:21, Galatians 5:22-23)?

When we’re born again, God sheds His love abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given to us (Romans 5:5).  It is a baptism of fire – and a flame begins to burn within us (Matthew 3:11).  The middle wall of partition between our hearts and heaven is broken down (Ephesians 2:14).  God has commanded His marvelous light to shine out of the devil’s darkness we once walked in – and for us to walk in this new light as His children (2 Corinthians 4:6, Acts 26:18, 1 Peter 2:9, Ephesians 5:8).

James Thurber wrote there are two kinds of light – the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.  Jesus reminded us to take heed, lest the light which is in us – be not darkness.  This is evidenced first by our eyes – the light of our soul (Luke 11:33-35).  This is the light of righteousness.  We have to be very careful we’re not walking straight into the wrong lights of Satan – the ones which can obscure obstacles right in front of us (Isaiah 59:9) – tripping us up and causing us to stumble spiritually time and again.

Staring too long at bright lights can cause vision loss. If we keep doing it, we can go totally blind.  Failing to follow the one true light of Christ, and obeying the commandments of God – can make us fall down, frustrate our faith – and make us grope and feel for walls right in front of us like men who have lost their sight (Isaiah 59:10).  Or, we can allow ourselves to be guided by the lights of other men and women of God first – before God; much like Job thought he was for others (Job 29:15). Where does that leave us if they should stray, betray, or fall away?

Christ dwells in such a brilliant light that no man has seen it – nor can even approach it (1 Timothy 6:16).  However, the light of the glorious gospel of God is given to us through the Holy Ghost, to glow steady and strong enough in our hearts – to be a lamp unto our feet, and light our path (Psalm 119:105).  To give us the confidence to be guides of those who are still walking around blindly without the Word – still blinded by the bright lights of this world (Luke 1:79, Romans 2:19).

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– Therefore, if any man be in Christ – he is a new creature.  Old things are passed away – behold; all things are become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

– In Christ alone my hope is found,  He is my light, my strength, my song, this Cornerstone, this solid Ground. – “In Christ Alone”, written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, copyright 2001

Billy Graham once said, “One’s identity in life is directly proportionate to one’s level of involvement with anything.”  We can slowly and subtly start to lose our true identity in life – when it becomes more wrapped up in our involvement with others – professionally, socially, even within a family.  This is not wrong by itself.

However it often might not be the reality we may so want it to be – even among Christians.  Even believers we may know and love for years – may have to move away one day.  God forbid, but they may stray from us – or betray us down the road. Others just pass away and leave this earth before we do.  

This can cause us much grief as any loss can.  It’s not just someone dying a physical death.  We can experience things like grief, pain, and confusion when a child leaves the nest – or when we retire from a career after many years.  What then? What do we with our time that’s left?  We either try to hang on to what’s already gone – or face the future with hope.

Read what Meghan O’Rourke once wrote about what can happen when we lose someone – or even something we’re close to: “When you lose someone you were close to – you have to reassess your picture of the world and your place in it.  The more your identity was wrapped up in the deceased – the more difficult the loss.”

When Saul of Tarsus first became a chosen vessel of God (Acts 9:15) to spread His gospel as the apostle Paul – he removed himself from involvement with flesh-and-blood for 3 1/2 years. With the exception of James – he didn’t confer with humans – only the Holy Spirit (Galatians 1:15-19).  Although Scripture does not say it exactly – it’ seems God desired for Paul to understand his identity was in Christ alone.

Only God has the power to raise us up from the dead – and without the Holy Ghost in us when we die – He has no power to do so (Romans 8:11).  Identifying ourselves as a Christian just by being involved with Christian things doesn’t automatically make us one (Luke 6:32-34).  We are none of God’s without the Holy Ghost (Romans 8:9).   We can’t say Jesus is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3).

We can slowly and subtly start to lose our true identity in Christ as believers – if it becomes more wrapped up in our involvement with other believers, and perhaps our Christian busy-ness, than it is in Christ.  If disagreements arise between believers causing divisiveness (Matthew 10:34) – or there are church upheavals to the point where we permanently walk away from each other, what then?

These can send us into a real crisis – and maybe make us wonder again who Christ really is – and what the Son of man’s role is going to be for the rest of our lives.  Can we put our faith back in Jesus – when others seemed to have failed us  – or fled? Referring back to Meghan O’Rourke’s words above, do we then have to reassess our perception and picture of the Word – and our place in it?

If we’re believers, our identity is in Christ first – because God has put the crucified Christ in us through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17, Galatians 2:20).  Yes, new believers will wrestle with Scripture – and will probably struggle with their new identity to begin with (2 Peter 3:16).  There are still many old things for God to make new again (lead verse).

However, if life seems to be the same old, same old after years – shouldn’t there be cause for concern?  If we’re still angry, bitter, unforgiving – what’s been made new?  Those are parts of our former man we are to put away through the daily regeneration and renewal of our hearts and minds – through obedience by repentance (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Ephesians 4:22-23, Titus 3:5).

If we still don’t know what it is we are truly supposed to be doing as Christians – or where we are supposed to be going as God desires it – it might be because our identity is more proportionate with Christianity than it is Christ.  This is one of the issues Paul addressed in his letters to the church leaders in Corinth.  Other believers were not baptized or crucified for us (1 Corinthians 1:13).

We are to follow Christ first – not other Christians (1 Corinthians 3:4). We are to be led by the Holy Spirit who works within us (Romans 8:1-14) – not other Christian speakers, preachers, and teachers – who work outside us.  So that if, God forbid, everyone one we knew left us – we could still be led by the Holy Ghost – and not lose our identity in Christ.

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– And they shall teach no more, every man to his neighbor – and every man to his brother, saying “Know the Lord.” “For they shall all know Me – from the least of them unto the greatest of them,” says the Lord. – Jeremiah 31:34

“Would you like to know the Lord, Mark?”  This was how many believers approached me during the first 49 years of this life – when I was not a believer.  Each time, I would listen patiently while the other person told me everything they knew about the Lord.  After they left, I would think just that – I had only heard what they knew.  Their personal comprehension did little to enlighten my darkness.  Often, they tried to draw me to a church before God finally drew me to the Cross (John 6:44).

They didn’t help me know the Lord any better.  Were they unwise in what they were doing?  God only knows for sure.  However, any human relationship has to be founded and established between two people first – not through a third-party.  So does a heavenly one.  We can’t build on another man’s foundation when it comes to being a Christian – especially if they are constructing God’s building on one that still seems to be worldly (Romans 15:20, 1 Corinthians 3:10-12).

Imagine basing and building any earthly relationship – solely on trying to know things about a person from third-party sources? How healthy would the union be?  How long before elements of confusion, dissatisfaction, or trouble started arising?  We don’t get to truly know people simply by soliciting what other people know about them.  If we do it this way – isn’t it like saying we want to know someone like the back of our hand – but only by the back of a hand belonging to someone else?

Likewise, we don’t get to know God – by knowing what other believers know about Him.  Trying to teach others about how to know the Lord – and dispensing our own personal relationship advice on how to establish a more intimate walk with Him – is not how He desires it to be done (lead verse). Our Father will magnify Himself, sanctify Himself – and make Himself known to all of us in our lives.  God will reveal His righteousness to all – so we are without excuse (Ezekiel 38:23, Romans 1:17-21).

We don’t become or stay Christians by any association with other believers – but by the Holy Ghost (Romans 8:9-11).  Jesus comes to dwell in hearts by faith – through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17).  We have access to God 24/7 through Christ our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). Why would we want to find out how to establish a better relationship with the Lord – from other believers who are not with us all day, every day – like He is?

We run the daily risk of being lied to as believers – and deceived by man’s words – even those from so-called great preachers and teachers of God (Job 32:9, Ephesians 5:6).  We shall be taught by God as believers – without lie – and learn how to have a better relationship with Him through Christ alone (John 6:45, 1 John 2:27).  Not by any of the many enticing words man’s wisdom may teach – but in demonstration of the Spirit and power (1 Corinthians 2:4-13).

Other believers can’t save us – nor can we save the lost by how we know the Lord.  Only God’s grace can save (Ephesians 2:8). This grace which brings salvation has appeared to all men (Titus 2:11).  It was through such grace that Christ tasted death for all men – so we would not have to (Hebrews 2:9).  From our youth – we have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ (2 Timothy 3:15).

Just because we may know the Bible, though – does not mean we necessarily know the Lord and His truth as He desires – we could just be ever learning (2 Timothy 3:7).  However, God has assured us we will all come to know Him – from the least to the greatest – and His gospel while we are on earth (lead verse). Once the world knows – then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).  This way, when we meet our Maker – we can’t say to Him we didn’t know who He was while we lived.

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– For our God is a consuming fire. – Hebrews 12:29

– Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God … and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. – Romans 13:2

During a recent trip to a nature preserve, we watched a video about its history.  One scene showed lightning igniting one of the occasional natural fires within park perimeters.  The commentator noted many grasses and plants have become resistant to these blazes over time.  Almost everything appears to be consumed at first – totally burned up.  However, nutrients stored in extensive root systems underground – soon bring forth new growths of the same kind, as before the fire.

There are many similarities between how plants grow in nature – and spiritually (John 15:1-6, for example).  When we are “born again” of the Spirit (John 3:5) – it is a baptism of fire (Matthew 3:11).  Our Father begins burning up all things such as anger, hatred, and unforgiveness – so fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) can start coming forth from the cleared soil in our hearts – once cluttered with the wrong plants.  This doesn’t mean the bad plants are gone for good (Hebrews 12:15).

The gift of God has to be continually stirred up within us and kept ablaze (2 Timothy 1:6).  Root systems in nature can spread far and wide and remain hidden from the naked eye – so can spiritual ones.  Just when we may think the wrong plants – perhaps the cares and worries of this world (Mark 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7) have been burnt and consumed – their nutrients in the root systems of our hearts can start growing again … if the fire of the Spirit is allowed to die out (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

When the Holy Ghost is given – Christ comes to dwell in our hearts by faith.  The power of God starts working within (Ephesians 3:16-20).  We are not to resist this – for we are resisting God (second lead verse).  If we do, we’re still stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears (Acts 7:51).  If we submit ourselves to God and resist the devil – he will flee (James 4:7).  If we stop resisting Satan’s devices – or stay ignorant of them – guess who’ll gain advantage again (2 Corinthians 2:11)?

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– For what man knows the things of a man – save the spirit which is in him?  Even so, the things of God knows no man – but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world – but the Spirit which is of God – that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God.  Which things we also speak – not in the wisdom that man’s wisdom teaches – but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. – 1 Corinthians 2:11-13

– Never try to understand something from the outside. – Brad Melzer

Our Father in heaven is never the author of any confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).  Especially in the lives of believers – for we have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost to be taught the things of Him.  By Him – and not man (lead verses).  It is impossible for Him to lie to us (Hebrews 6:18, 1 John 2:27). God is the Rock – His work is perfect – for all His ways are judgment.  A Father of truth is He – without any iniquity (Deuteronomy 32:4).  Still, Scripture can seem confusing, contradictory, imperfect, and even untruthful at times – even among long-time believers.

This is very understandable if a person is still lost and unbelieving.  For they have not yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost – when Christ comes to dwell in their inner man by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).  The gospel is still hidden to them – and the preaching of the Cross is foolishness – for they are still presently perishing (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, 1 Corinthians 1:18). They remain natural men and woman trying to understand God and His Word from the outside-in – as if it’s a history book about Him – and not His story about us (1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Timothy 3:16, lead quote).

It’s even understandable when new believers – or those trying to build their faith and trust on an unstable foundation – get confused with Scripture.  For they are still unlearned – and wrestle with Scripture to their destruction (2 Peter 3:17).  Being able to compare spiritual things with the spiritual takes time – but it’s a sign of healthy and steady spiritual growth.  With the Holy Ghost inside us – He begins to guide us into all truth with no lie (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27).  This is given freely to us by Him – if His words abide in us – and we in Him; at all times (John 15:1-7, lead verses).

Christ once told a parable – about a parable – to illustrate all this.  Jesus was with the 12 disciples whom God had chosen – and some others whom He had not.  The Son of man said unto them “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God – but to them that are without – all these things are done in parables.  That seeing they may see – and not perceive; and hearing they may hear – and not understand. Lest at any time they should be converted – and their sins should be forgiven them.  Do you not know this parable? How then will you know all parables (Mark 4:10-13)?”

The only thing that makes anyone a Christian is receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost – for many reasons.  We are none of God’s without it (Romans 8:9), we cannot say Christ is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3); and our Father has no power to quicken (make alive) our mortal bodies and raise us up to salvation when Christ returns (Romans 8:11, Revelation 12:10).  It is the Spirit inside us that makes us alive – our flesh profits nothing (John 6:63).  Otherwise, we may be going to church, Bible studies, etc., – and still be on the outside looking in (1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Timothy 3:7).

As Christians, we have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  We are to learn God’s Son the way He wants us to from the inside-out – and the only One inside our hearts is Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17, Ephesians 4:20-32).  We now learn how God’s Spirit speaks and teaches within us – so we can do likewise to others – with His wisdom and not our own.  Again, it takes time through continual repentance as our inner man is continually transformed, regenerated, and renewed from above (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Titus 3:5).

Slowly and steadily, we should learn from Him how to compare spiritual things with the spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:13).  Not to trivialize it – but it really is like connecting spiritual dots.  So one verse/passage gets connected to another – and another – and so on.  For the mystery which has been hid from ages – and from generations – is now made manifest to His saints (Colossians 1:26).  Some dots get connected quickly – others take years.  Some never do – and that’s for good reason (Ecclesiastes 7:16, Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 11:33, 1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

A clearer, pieced together, spiritual picture should being to emerge to us – so we can then share it with others; especially the lost.  No longer cherry-picking singular verses/passages from Scripture that may sound great to ourselves when posted on Facebook (for example) – but meaning nothing to unbelievers when shared – except to add to their confusion as to what Christianity is all about.  So perhaps they may start to think “This is making more sense to me now” instead of “This still makes no sense.”  So God might finally convict their hearts of sin with His sorrow – and give them the gift of the Spirit for repentance unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).

So any believer presenting Scripture through writings can slowly start to do so in a less sporadic or spotty fashion than they may have at one time.  So any Christian speaking Scripture in public can be more specific each time they do so – and perhaps less sputtering than they may have once sounded.  A more “jointed” spiritual picture is created in our hearts and minds.  So any of us knows how to answer every man – understanding both what we say and affirm (2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Timothy 1:7).  So Christianity doesn’t sound like a whole bunch of jangling noise (1 Timothy 1:6) – for that likely pushes people further away from the Cross – than drawing them closer.

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(Scripture from the KJV)

– Of making books there is no end … and much study is a weariness of the flesh. – Ecclesiastes 12:12

Plato once said that “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Well, perhaps it should be the brother of education and learning as well. Abraham Lincoln never went to college. In a short autobiography written in 1859, the future 16th president described his education like this: “All my formal schooling took place when I was young – in the way of reading, writing, and ciphering. The little advance I now have upon this state of education – I have picked up from time to time under the pressure of necessity.” (Source: American Presidents (11th Edition) by David C. Whitney).

Especially in modern times, more and more people seem to be acquiring more and more knowledge – often at great expense – simply for the sake of doing so.  With the explosion of the internet in the past 20 years – we are bombarded daily with all kinds of information that must be filtered and processed by our limited minds.  Daily decisions get harder to make with this deluge of data. The prophet Daniel warned that in the last days, many will run to and fro – and knowledge will be increased (Daniel 12:4).

As Christians, we should always be very careful and prayerful that we are not learning a bunch of Bible verses – simply for the sake of learning them – without asking the Holy Spirit on how to compare them with other spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:13).  If we don’t, then we can easily and frequently start quoting them to others in an often – almost clinical “matter of fact” manner – to show off our Biblical “book knowledge” to others.   We are not in tune with the Holy Spirit as to if they actually apply to any circumstance or situation we are encountering.  

When we present the Word like this – it sometimes leads to nothing but back and forth exchanges of our Scriptural “smarts” or “stupidity”. They usually fall on mostly deaf ears. It only serves to puff us up – or pull us down against each other (1 Corinthians 8:1). Sadly, we can spend years like this – always searching and learning Scripture – thinking we have eternal life but never being able to come unto the knowledge of the truth (John 5:39, John 16:13, 2 Timothy 3:7, 1 John 2:27).

Too much knowledge and too little love can kill common sense – even among Christians (1 Corinthians 8:1). Verses we may use as our own personal mantras to get through difficult times can be totally meaningless to someone who is lost. Love always edifies others – but too much Bible learning can paralyze us from responding the way God has commanded us to first and foremost. Remember love covers all sin (Proverbs 10:12, 1 Peter 4:8).

Instead of being sensitive to every situation we encounter daily as Christians – as to how we can show others God’s love immediately – we’re searching our brains to find what we think is that one verse that will somehow be the perfect and quick solution to whatever the difficulty, problem, or trial may be. This is very close to striving about words to no profit (2 Timothy 2:14). We can get so overly focused on trying to find and say the right thing – that we can forget that all we have to do sometimes is go the extra mile with someone – with our mouths mostly shut (Matthew 5:41).

Yes, we are to study to show ourselves approved to God – but not to others (2 Timothy 3:15). As with any area of life we are directly involved in – we should be continually broadening our scope of knowledge – even if we may not be using it in our day-to-day lives. But if all we are doing is studying – and never showing others we’ve discovered how to apply what we’ve learned – we’re nothing more than talking heads. Is this how some who are lost see many Christians? Confucius once said, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.”

Perhaps the last thing any unbelieving person wants to hear from us first is some verse we may like – but which they will probably forget as soon as we walk away. Wouldn’t they rather see us show them God’s love first – so they will remember it much longer than sharing a snippet of Scripture? And in the process of doing so – we may actually start comprehending and understanding a little better each time what God’s love really is – instead of just learning about it?

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