Wednesday, May 06, 2015

A Thought for Wednesday 6 May 2015

“I was brought forth in iniquity; in sin my mother conceived me.  Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.”  Psalm 51:5-6 NKJV

Though it is unlikely the tradition of infant baptism and the doctrine of original sin stem from this passage alone, it does speak to a certain doctrinal understanding of the difference between the human person born of the flesh and the spiritual person reborn in water and the Holy Spirit.  The question of exactly when or how this transition takes place has been the source of study, reflection, and contention within the Church for a very long time; and it is safe to say that for all we may think we know, there is much more we do not know.  Believe it or not, this should be a point – maybe the point – of discipleship.  After all, how useful can it be to follow something or Someone who no longer has anything to teach us?

Yet that question reveals something about us we do not often wish to admit: when we remove ourselves voluntarily from small group Bible study, personal devotion and Scripture study, and the other means of grace meant to nurture our spiritual growth, we are in essence saying we have nothing more to learn.  We have learned just enough to convince ourselves we are “saved” and that we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit.  From that realization that the Spirit has indeed moved within us, we convince ourselves that our very basic human instincts are automatically informed by that same Spirit so that whatever it is we feel like doing, that we do.  If it works out, it was from The Lord.  If it blows up in our faces, it was of the devil.

Here’s the thing, though.  It is written in the Proverbs, in the Letter to the Hebrews, and in the Revelation that The Lord rebukes and chastises those whom He loves.  What blows up in our face is not always the work of the devil; it could very well be The Lord rebuking us and our arrogant spirit.  Yet we will not know this if there is not an active, ongoing relationship with The Lord through His Word.  If we remove ourselves from the study of the Scripture and the fellowship and accountability of our fellow disciples, we set ourselves up for all kinds of misleading and downright false teachings for this reason alone: we embrace what just seems to make perfect sense to us.  Yet it is also written that what may seem right to us in the beginning is also the way of death and destruction (Proverb 16:25).  Jesus Himself warns of the “wide gate” that seems the less difficult and more personally satisfying choice at first, but it will also lead to our destruction.

Studying the Scripture is not easy nor did Jesus intend His parables to be easy.  We have much more to learn, many more rebukes and hard lessons to endure along the wilderness journey that is discipleship.  For this we must learn to be grateful, for these are the rebukes from Above that serve to remind us we truly have not been forsaken, that The Lord has not yet turned His back on us.  Even when we face persecution or scorn from this world, these may be good indicators that we are indeed reaching higher.  Knowing any of this, however, is not possible apart from the Written Word, the Living Word that is Christ.

We must not get too comfortable or settled as if there is nothing more for us to learn or to do until we die.  Even in the face of persecution, our Lord has assured us of blessings we cannot begin to imagine!  And that, my dear friends, is what we should desire above all else!  But we will not find these blessings in our basic human instincts.  We find them only in The Lord; and The Lord is found in the Word, not the world.


No comments: