How To See Clearly
The precepts of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
It is the strangest thing: Millions of Christians say they really want to be wise in their decisions. They want to follow God in their personal lives, jobs, and families and to experience God’s blessings, but they often fail to do the one thing God promises will give them that wisdom: soak up the truths in His Word.
People who devour God’s truth (and that’s the image we get from Jeremiah 15:16) gradually develop a new set of eyes, one that sees beyond the tangible to the eternal. But that doesn’t mean they’re clairvoyant. They can’t see the future or know exactly what God is doing all the time. Rather, they gain insight about the ways and will of God. They aren’t shocked when roadblocks occur, because they’ve learned that God often uses detours to redirect them. They don’t pout when God doesn’t answer their prayer, because they know God sometimes has a different agenda that is much bigger than theirs. And they aren’t caught off guard when people disappoint them, because they have more insight about the selfishness in their own hearts too.
Learning to see through the lens of Scripture takes time and effort, but most of us gladly expend time and effort on a host of other activities that promise far less. A writer once asked, “Do you spend as much time in God’s Word as you spend reading the newspaper?” Today we might ask, “Do we spend as much time reading Scripture as we do watching YouTube or checking the weather or sports online?”
Read God’s Word daily and get ready- you are about to experience the life you can’t wait to live!
I think that most people would waste away to nothing if they only fed their physical bodies in the same consistency as they feed their souls. We all know that our physical bodies require daily meals-at least three- and we are constantly reminded to hydrate lest we experience the effects of dehydration. We insure that our children are fed healthy meals daily to keep them strong and healthy. Yet for many Bible reading is at best a chore or even more their hearing of the Word is only the Scripture read on Sunday morning. We know that if the physical body is weakened through malnutrition then it becomes subject to all manner of diseases and loses it ability to resist infection and the like. All truth is parallel. If our spirits are weakened from the lack of nutrition of the Word, then they, too, can easily become the subject of all manner of temptation and if they remain in their weakened condition they will succumb to sin.
Many people constantly search for some sign or seek some “now word” given by some spiritual leader but God in most cases leads us by His Word. The Word of God is so important that the Bible says that God holds it above His name.
“I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.”
The importance of the Word can also be seen in John’s description of Christ:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus told the Pharisees that if they wished to know who He was, they only had to search the scriptures. This is true for us as well. Many say they want to know God more and we can. How? By devouring the Word. Every precept, principle, command that we need to follow God is laid out in the Word. Much of what we question has already been answered. Often I hear churches and Christians say, “We don’t know what God wants us to do.” But the truth is, God has already made known to us His will and His wishes. I think sometimes, like the child who doesn’t want to do his chores, we pretend that we don’t know what to do. In fact the directions of God are plain and simple. We don’t need lengthy meetings to discuss our mission. It has already been defined. Here it is:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
How we do that might need to be the subject of prayer but what we do needs no further seeking or discussion. Once we settle the issue of what we do I think we can trust the Holy Spirit to tell us how but as long as we ignore the instructions and the revealed will of God, our seeking is in vain.
Even matters that concern us personally are already answered by the Word. When we ask how we are to respond to people around us, we are given the answer already. Even with those who may make our lives difficult, we are told how to respond. Here’s a couple of examples:
I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him].
The book of Proverbs provides wisdom for the family, relationships, and business practices.
We just need to read and heed what the Word of God teaches and most of our questions and our seeking for direction would be discovered and answered.
Those who begin to seek the will of God through His Word will find peace and confident trust. They might not always know the details but they have come to know who God is and His character and nature and what they don’t understand they trust that in time and season God will make known what is necessary to know. They learn to not allow obstacles or change or adversity to discourage and defeat them. They don’t respond to these with impatience or anger or frustration or any of the other ways that those of the world respond. They choose to bring every matter before God in prayer. They choose to seek their answer from absorbing the Word of God. They find their strength, hope and assurance in the promises and the One who promised. They hold fast to the revealed word such a Romans 8:28 and they know that through the eyes of eternity all will be well. They feed their souls with daily Bread, nourishing their spirits, strengthening themselves through the Word for they are aware that the devil is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour and their defensive weapon is the “Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” They dare not take on the battle against temptation on their own, but like Christ in the wilderness, they use the Word of God against such pressure. They stand “not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” Their hope is in the Author of the Word and the Finisher of Faith who cannot lie and does not change. They know these things to be true for they have discovered that the stories of the Bible offer proof to these things.
I realize we live in a busy world, but I submit that it is imperative that we as Christians consider our priorities. I am not here to judge but to make us aware of our need to know God in a deeper way. I am personally aware of the pressures life can bring even to those of us who work in and for the church. It is frankly easy to be so busy doing good things that we neglect to feed ourselves. For me personally it is easy to get so busy writing devotions, preparing and giving sermons, or studying and teaching lessons that I fail to eat. It’s kinda like being a cook that stays in the kitchen preparing meals for others and never stops to eat. I’ve learned what caregivers are taught. To be able to help others, I must first take care of myself. Everyday there are a thousand things I need to do and sometimes it takes an extreme amount of discipline to set them aside so I can feed my own soul. I’ve tried the other way and discovered it makes one an empty person with empty words.
I’m aware of the pressures every family faces, our younger families with the activities and involvement of their children and the constant decisions that must be made; our older families with caregiving, helping the children and grandchildren and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t awake every single day without a list of things that need to be done. None of us have more than 24 hours per day or 365 days per year. How we spend those days and hours is critical. For Christians, those hours and days must be spent in the light of eternity. If the grass doesn’t get mowed as often as it should because we made spending time in the Word our priority, so be it. If the house isn’t spotless because we choose to spend time in prayer, so be it. If we must curtail some of our children’s activities so they can be taught the Word, so be it. It’s all a matter of setting our priorities and believe me I’m aware of the push back and the pressure of society to make everything else a priority and our Word time and prayer time the least and the last.
I believe that even the church needs a reformation for it seems that there are a lot of things that have taken precedent over the Word and prayer. Most churches give an hour per week to gather. During that hour only minutes are given to prayer and generally 20-30 minutes to the preaching/ teaching of the Word. Most churches have moved away from the “Sunday School hour” and have provided no substitute means of teaching and making disciples. Perhaps to regain our spiritual strength we ought to consider the priority of prayer and the Word as our top priorities and let all else find a lower level of priority.
I’m suggesting a radical approach to life and living for Christians. I’m suggesting that if we wish to see true change in our families, in the church and in the community, that we choose to feed our spirits first and let the feeding of our flesh and its desires come behind.
May we be filled to overflow with the Word and Spirit. May we all become “FAT” Christians- Faithful, Active, Trusting.
Dr. John Thompson