I’m exposing myself as a hypocrite. My critics should love this, but honesty is bellowing out of me this morning.
I’m not as biblically learned as my husband. Nearly daily he’s in the Word. Daily, he listens to sound teachings and his knowledge and wisdom grows. He’s read the entire Bible though once and the New Testament countless times. He’s smart. He digs into the where and the why and the what of the scriptures he reads. He wants background and the mind of the writer.
Me, on the other hand…I haven’t read the entire Bible through. I’ve read some of the OT and all of the NT, but only by hitting and missing. I read “soundbites” of scripture online. I listen to knowledgeable teachings at church and other respected pastors. I read commentaries. But I’m experiential. I do want to know the context of the passages so that I can understand meaning, but what I’m really looking for is how does this apply to MY life. I’m selfish and emotional like that.
So with that bit of tragic honesty, I’m not really a Gospel reader. There, I said it. I have read all four through and sporadically. I mostly know most of what Jesus did. I understand His ministry and why He did what He did. Of course, I’m not taking ANY of that away from Him.
But I want to read Paul. I want to know what he told the Romans about living a righteous life and wearing the whole armor. I want to hear about all the Spiritual Gifts he told the saints at Corinth. Let him teach me about the works of the flesh as he did for the Galatians so I can avoid them! Oh, Paul, tell me how I’ve been saved by grace through faith and not of my filthy works so I can’t even boast, as you told the people at the church in Ephesus. And my ever-favorite Colossians where you explain to me the character of the New Man, of how I’m to be since God called me to be His – and the very scripture God used to call me home and repair my marriage.
Those books speak to me!
But I know I’m lacking in my knowledge of the Gospels, so that’s why I’m in Matthew. I like Matthew. Not my favorite. I like John better. I just like the man of John, so I have affection for his book. But since the early church put Matthew first, that’s where I began. I knew I was going to read again about the beginning of Christ’s life and ministry. Those are always exciting things too. But I never expected an AHA moment for my life. Crazy, huh? Why wouldn’t I expect my Lord to speak to me through one of His biographies? Oh, but He did. And I share:
Matthew 17:14-22 is a familiar story to most. A man spoke to Jesus as He, once again, was addressing a huge crowd. The man called out, asking for mercy on his epileptic son who often fell into the fire and water. The good father he was had him worried about his son’s safety. (Is that a new concept to us parents?) The father explained that he had taken the son to some of Jesus’s followers and they were unable to help, but he watched as Christ cured him that very hour. (Have you ever sought the advice and help of godly people, to no avail?) Jesus’s response to their astonishment and reason why they had been unsuccessful:
Because of your unbelief, for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
That’s a mouthful, eh? Faith. Trust in God’s will. Those are almost no-brainers that we forget. But prayer and fasting? How badly to do you want it? And to be sure, prayer and fasting isn’t for God. He’s the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The God of eternity past and eternity future. Nothing that happens ever has Him perplexed. He is molding and shaping us for His Kingdom.
So the next time I’m in doubt, the next time I’m confused or hurting, I need to draw upon my Lord’s words. I need to redevelop a love for His biographies because that’s where the treasures lay. He’s got this, you know. No matter if we don’t understand, He’s got this. We worry because we love, but we worry because we don’t trust. Right? We don’t trust that God has all this under control. We want to help; we want to offer Him advice. Aren’t we an arrogant bunch?
Get into His Word and learn His ways. Cultivate your trust in Him. That’s where peace lies. And who doesn’t need peace?
Please pray with me:
Lord, I know that you are my Savior. I know my salvation rests in You. I forget that there will be trials and I will still feel uncertainty and hurts. But I must never forget that all things are for Your glory. Even when things feel at their worst and my world is falling apart, You are always the glue that holds the entire world. You promised that all that the Father sends you will draw near to you and you will lose no one. I will seek Your ways, and I will trust in Your ways. Your ways are higher than mine and You see past the fog of my confusions. You have proven to me time and time again that You love me, so I will leave no room for Satan to seep doubt into my spirit. You are the holy one. You are everlasting. You gave Your life for me. There is no greater love than that. I trust You and I lean on You. Give me a hunger for Your Word. Put godly people in my life to guide me closer to You and Your will. Let my life never be about me but only about You, lest I should ever want to boast. I love you, my Lord. Thank you for saving my soul and loving me more than I deserve. In Your holy name I pray, Amen
Now, trust in Him and go spread some joy! And get into His word!!