Why We Lack Understanding

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Why We Lack Understanding

Postby John_Smith » Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:50 pm

He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead —Mark 9:9

As the disciples were commanded, you should also say nothing until the Son of Man has risen in you— until the life of the risen Christ so dominates you that you truly understand what He taught while here on earth. When you grow and develop the right condition inwardly, the words Jesus spoke become so clear that you are amazed you did not grasp them before. In fact, you were not able to understand them before because you had not yet developed the proper spiritual condition to deal with them.

Our Lord doesn’t hide these things from us, but we are not prepared to receive them until we are in the right condition in our spiritual life. Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12)*. We must have a oneness with His risen life before we are prepared to bear any particular truth from Him. Do we really know anything about the indwelling of the risen life of Jesus? The evidence that we do is that His Word is becoming understandable to us. God cannot reveal anything to us if we don’t have His Spirit. And our own unyielding and headstrong opinions will effectively prevent God from revealing anything to us. But our insensible thinking will end immediately once His resurrection life has its way with us.

“. . . tell no one . . . .” But so many people do tell what they saw on the Mount of Transfiguration— their mountaintop experience. They have seen a vision and they testify to it, but there is no connection between what they say and how they live. Their lives don’t add up because the Son of Man has not yet risen in them. How long will it be before His resurrection life is formed and evident in you and in me?


from My Utmost for His Highest

*John 16:12-13: "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will tell you things to come."



Proverbs 14:6: “A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, but knowledge is easy to him who understands.”
There is a huge difference to those who misunderstand the Bible, and those misuse it. We can argue all day about misunderstandings. Some are clear-cut, but others we will wait till Jesus can sort out personally. All we can do is be honest and allow ourselves to be conformed to God’s will (and not expect the other way around).
But we also don’t have to be afraid of not knowing enough. Proverbs 16:1: “The preparations of the heart belong to man. But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” You are as ready as God wants you to be for whatever task it is at that particular moment.
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Re: Why We Lack Understanding

Postby ClaecElric4God » Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:15 pm

Huh. To be honest, I'm a bit confused about what the writer is trying to say here. Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but that first paragraph is so absolute, it caught me off guard. I mean, I understand misusing the Bible, and being assertive and opinionated and un-Christian, but I don't think that a born-again believer is ever too young or spiritually undeveloped to simply share the truth of the gospel and of Jesus Christ. I don't know, maybe I just have to step back and read this again, but this whole devotion is just a bit confusing to me.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8 KJV
They have shewed thee, O teen, what is good; and what doth the world require of thee, but to fit in, be wealthy, have good looks, and be rebellious? -Peer Pressure 1:1
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Re: Why We Lack Understanding

Postby John_Smith » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:59 am

Claec, have I mentioned how awesome you are? Well, I have now.

And... the fact that you're confused means I failed at my job... that being said, I might have been confused about the same thing, but didn't want to let it on when I first posted this. I don't remember. :sweat:

I can say that it makes sense to me currently when I compare it to I Corinthians 13:1-2: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but not love, I am nothing."

So, to make this comparison to all of the people who Jesus healed, and told be quiet... but then they told everyone what happened anyway. They were acting without the love of God in their hearts. They were still motivated by the flesh nature.

But I also think we should take particular note of this quote in the first paragraph, "truly understand what He taught." It makes the question, how many of us do go around, thinking that we know the Bible, but really don't? What if this were the case with myself, when I impromptu post one of these threads about some spiritual meaning, but actually don't truly understand it all yet? This is part of the reason why I pray that God use what I wrote, or said, for His good, because I'm simply an easily corrupted human.

Through it’s true God will take the corrupted, and use it for His own good… but when we try and do it ourselves, we create a whole mess that has to be worked out by His intervention prior to any good that we see of it.

To spell this out as best I can: What is our motivation? Is it love? Is it for God’s glory? Or is it for ourselves?
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Re: Why We Lack Understanding

Postby Nate » Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:15 am

Uh if a dude has leprosy and it's suddenly healed I think people are going to notice whether they tell anyone what happened or not. Unless they were just supposed to straight up lie when someone asked "Didn't you have leprosy?"

Wait, would that mean Jesus was encouraging them to lie? Interesting...
how many of us do go around, thinking that we know the Bible, but really don't?

I'd say literally everyone, so that would kind of put a dent in the whole witnessing to others thing.
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Re: Why We Lack Understanding

Postby John_Smith » Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:51 am

Nate wrote:Uh if a dude has leprosy and it's suddenly healed I think people are going to notice whether they tell anyone what happened or not. Unless they were just supposed to straight up lie when someone asked "Didn't you have leprosy?"

Wait, would that mean Jesus was encouraging them to lie? Interesting...


For context:
Mark 1:40-45: Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.

Jesus did not ask the former leper to lie, but rather to not go blabbing. To hold his silence unless asked. Mark is clear on this matter that he 'proclaim[ed] it freely."

Nate wrote:
how many of us do go around, thinking that we know the Bible, but really don't?

I'd say literally everyone, so that would kind of put a dent in the whole witnessing to others thing.


Yes, you have a point. None of us have a complete understanding of God and the Word. But we can check our motivations. When we witness, do we seek to earnestly to save souls, or to argue? But even this is not the best motivation I know of, because our goal should be to glorify God, and witnessing is a great way to do this. But saved souls should be a joyful result, but the true goal is to live our lives for God.
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Re: Why We Lack Understanding

Postby Nate » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:21 pm

John_Smith wrote:Jesus did not ask the former leper to lie, but rather to not go blabbing. To hold his silence unless asked.

No, sorry, I don't see where it says to hold his silence "unless asked." It specifically says: "See that you say nothing to anyone." He was just told to go to the priest, as testimony to them. He was told not to say anything to anyone else though. But if you see a guy who had leprosy and now he's perfectly fine, you're going to ask him what happened. People would have crowded around demanding to know the story. He was just supposed to not say a word to these people? Nah, I don't buy it. You can say the dude did wrong by just walking up to people and saying "Hey I had leprosy but that guy over there cured me" but even if he didn't do that the same results would still happen as people went up to him and asked why he was no longer a leper.

The more interesting question here is then, if Jesus healed this guy and told him not to say anything, does that mean that if someone in today's age has, say, cancer, and they get miraculously cured by God's hand, is it wrong for them to tell others that God cured their disease and helped them? Are they being like the leper who did wrong by going and freely proclaiming Jesus had healed him? Is this a cautionary tale to not go around saying God will cure all your disease, because the fact is sometimes He doesn't and going around saying He will can cause people to turn against God when they do not see similar results? I actually think it is a pretty interesting interpretation too (not saying it's correct, but I don't think it's necessarily an impossible one to take from the verse).
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Re: Why We Lack Understanding

Postby ClaecElric4God » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:48 am

@John Thanks? Not sure what I did to deserve that, but I appreciate it. :sweat:

Okay, so...I'm confused about how the leper argument is even relevant to the topic at hand. I think we went off on a bit of a rabbit trail here, guys.
Also, I had something big and long written out, which decided to disappear, so you get the short version. From what I can tell, Jesus told the leper not to tell anyone (which he did anyways, and I kind of get the feeling Jesus didn't really expect him not to), because He didn't want to be thronged by people who wanted healed. So often all people ever wanted from Jesus was physical healing, and there were times all He had a chance to do was heal because there were sooo many people who came to be healed. Jesus' primary ministry on earth was to spread the gospel, and He didn't want anything to take away from that. I mean, look at the time He got in a boat and had them push off the shore so He could preach to people, because the crowd was so huge and everybody just wanted miracles and not the Word. Jesus didn't want people to focus on and be drawn in by what He was doing, but what He was saying.
Also, though it may not necessarily apply to this verse, I think Nate makes an interesting point about talking about being healed and discouraging others.

And as far as what confused me, I think it was just...the writer seemed to be taking one small thing Jesus said about the transfiguration, and making a really big life point out of it, that I don't think was even really that related to the passage in question. I dunno... I feel like it was taken out of context to make a very strange point I don't necessarily agree with.

Also, I think there's a difference between "knowing the Bible" well enough to witness to others, and just throwing Bible verses at people haphazardly for the sake of sounding Christian, so I'm gonna have to stand with John on that one.

John_Smith wrote:But even this is not the best motivation I know of, because our goal should be to glorify God, and witnessing is a great way to do this. But saved souls should be a joyful result, but the true goal is to live our lives for God.

I never looked at it this way, and I really like it. The glory of God should always come first, even when we're reaching out to others.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8 KJV
They have shewed thee, O teen, what is good; and what doth the world require of thee, but to fit in, be wealthy, have good looks, and be rebellious? -Peer Pressure 1:1
"I hate milk; it's like drinking vomit." -Edward Elric and me. :fmed:
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Re: Why We Lack Understanding

Postby mechana2015 » Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:47 pm

ClaecElric4God wrote:And as far as what confused me, I think it was just...the writer seemed to be taking one small thing Jesus said about the transfiguration, and making a really big life point out of it, that I don't think was even really that related to the passage in question. I dunno... I feel like it was taken out of context to make a very strange point I don't necessarily agree with.



This is a good concern to have, proof text and eisegesis are a notable problem with this sort of devotional writing.
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Re: Why We Lack Understanding

Postby Nate » Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:42 pm

ClaecElric4God wrote:He didn't want to be thronged by people who wanted healed. So often all people ever wanted from Jesus was physical healing, and there were times all He had a chance to do was heal because there were sooo many people who came to be healed. Jesus' primary ministry on earth was to spread the gospel, and He didn't want anything to take away from that.

And this bugs me, because human beings don't work like that. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and all, if you're sick, you're not going to care about other concerns, especially if it's painful or deadly. Likewise, if someone's trying to tell you about your immortal soul and you haven't eaten in a week, you're not going to care what they talk about until your current, right now needs are met. Only when the basic needs have been fulfilled can you then start to work on other things. This is a big part of why missionaries help build shelters and set up hospitals, to take care of the person's physical needs so that they can THEN start to work on the person's spiritual needs. Going to a place with starving people and saying "Hey Jesus loves you" is going to fall on deaf ears if people aren't getting the help they need.

And if Jesus is God, and God is omnipotent, why couldn't he just cure them all and then preach to them? It's not like he had to touch them, the story in Matthew 8 says that when Jesus was talking to the centurion he spoke, and Matthew 8 says at that moment the servant was healed. Jesus didn't need to touch or even see the guy to heal him, so why can't he just speak and say "Okay you're all healed," bam, they're healed, now he can preach. The only way I can see to reconcile this is to state that Jesus is NOT omnipotent like God, and was limited by his human nature. While he had miraculous power it was by no means all-encompassing, and hence you have him getting tired and exhausted, which shouldn't happen to a truly omnipotent being.

I get that spiritual matters are more important than physical ones. Obviously where your soul spends eternity in the afterlife is more important than this physical body in this lifetime. So don't think I'm misunderstanding that. But, human beings have levels of needs that they need to be fulfilled before they can work on the next higher level, and in that case it should be obvious to someone who understands human beings that if you want people to listen to more important needs, you take care of the lower level of needs first, and that healing people is at the very least more immediately necessary, even if it's not more necessary in the long run.

ClaecElric4God wrote:Also, I think there's a difference between "knowing the Bible" well enough to witness to others, and just throwing Bible verses at people haphazardly for the sake of sounding Christian, so I'm gonna have to stand with John on that one.


That may be true but I still think it's bad to say "Well you don't truly know what the Bible is saying so maybe you shouldn't be witnessing to others." It especially comes off as egotistical and holier-than-thou, because you're probably not saying it if the person is agreeing with you, but disagreeing. Phrasing it like that says "I know what the Bible truly says and since you disagree with what I'm saying, you obviously don't." I say nuts to that. What if you're the one who's wrong and the guy you think doesn't "truly" know what it says is right?
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Re: Why We Lack Understanding

Postby John_Smith » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:07 am

ClaecElric4God wrote:@John Thanks? Not sure what I did to deserve that, but I appreciate it. :sweat:


You deserved it for posting on every single one of the devotionals that had been posted at the time of my writing that. :thumb:


ClaecElric4God wrote:Okay, so...I'm confused about how the leper argument is even relevant to the topic at hand. I think we went off on a bit of a rabbit trail here, guys.

It’s not. Or at least, it’s not anymore. Darn it rabbit, you win this round.


mechana2015 wrote:This is a good concern to have, proof text and eisegesis are a notable problem with this sort of devotional writing.

It’s a style of Chambers’ which I have been coming aware of myself. On one hand, I like the idea of taking individual snippets of the Bible and applying them to our lives. The histories accounted in the old testament aren’t just history lessons, but have actual application today. When Jesus gave a commandment to His disciples, we are to consider ourselves disciples and follow them as well.
Such a view has it limit, of course. It is a danger to begin leaning towards eisegesis (an entirely new word to me, I must add).


Nate wrote:That may be true but I still think it's bad to say "Well you don't truly know what the Bible is saying so maybe you shouldn't be witnessing to others." It especially comes off as egotistical and holier-than-thou, because you're probably not saying it if the person is agreeing with you, but disagreeing. Phrasing it like that says "I know what the Bible truly says and since you disagree with what I'm saying, you obviously don't." I say nuts to that. What if you're the one who's wrong and the guy you think doesn't "truly" know what it says is right?


So obviously, Nate, you don’t truly understand the Bible yet, and are better off holding your tongue until you better understand. SPOILER: Highlight text to read: Just to be redundant and for redundancy’s sake: This is a joke.

But no, seriously, I'm with you on that. And this devotional isn’t something to use during a debate to beat people or anything, but rather for personal development. In instead of “The son of man hasn’t risen in you yet, you’re wrong about everything!” it’s “Is the son of man risen in me? Do I have the right to speak up yet?”

While Chambers’ does have a criticism of others in the last paragraph, I think it’s telling that he ends with “How long will it be before His resurrection life is formed and evident in you and in me?” It should be a self-criticism more than anything else.
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Re: Why We Lack Understanding

Postby mechana2015 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:29 am

John_Smith"
[quote="mechana2015 wrote:
This is a good concern to have, proof text and eisegesis are a notable problem with this sort of devotional writing.

It’s a style of Chambers’ which I have been coming aware of myself. On one hand, I like the idea of taking individual snippets of the Bible and applying them to our lives. The histories accounted in the old testament aren’t just history lessons, but have actual application today. When Jesus gave a commandment to His disciples, we are to consider ourselves disciples and follow them as well.
Such a view has it limit, of course. It is a danger to begin leaning towards eisegesis (an entirely new word to me, I must add).
[/quote]
In response to what I italicized there, while they weren't just history lessons for sure, one shouldn't ignore the history of the bible and the historical zeitgeist that the text was written in relation to, particularly with Old Testament texts.

For the record I'm more a fan of devotionals that approach a paragraph or more so things are taken within a wider form of text, protecting the contents rather than isolating it from often relevant information.
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Re: Why We Lack Understanding

Postby John_Smith » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:57 am

mechana2015 wrote:For the record I'm more a fan of devotionals that approach a paragraph or more so things are taken within a wider form of text, protecting the contents rather than isolating it from often relevant information.


Well, it might not satisfy your preference, but I am trying to quote verses that appear before and after what is referenced in the text. Though, sometimes I fear I'm posting too much. That being said, it's probably a generally good idea for people to be going to the Bible themselves while reading this. That's certainly how these were meant to be read.


Nate wrote:Isn't this the same guy who the other day was like "Hey whoa maybe you should know more about the Bible before you go telling others about Jesus" because if he is and now he's going "You know doctrine isn't really that important" then lol.

Chambers never said 'Know the Bible more before witnessing.' He said don't go spouting religious things before "Son of Man has risen in you." But he doesn't say anything close to 'doctrine isn't that important,' either. These two devotionals support each other. His statement is that one can read the Bible, and spout the Bible, but not have a relationship with Jesus. And that's what's important. No matter what you're doing, you should be doing both for and with God.

These aren’t word games. The Son of Man rising in us isn’t ‘reading the Bible more.’ And even if it did, that doesn’t escape the matter of balance. We should learn more about the Bible, and more about God. But that doesn’t change the great works God can do with the humble and honest heart of an ignorant child. And in a way, that child is wiser than some of the most well-known spiritual leaders, because such a state of their heart implies a relationship with Jesus, a heart that has the Son of Man risen in it.
And if we aren’t reading the Bible to get a state of heart like that, if we aren’t reading these devotionals to get closer to a state like that, than it is all for naught.
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Re: Why We Lack Understanding

Postby Nate » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:43 am

John_Smith wrote:He said don't go spouting religious things before "Son of Man has risen in you."

He said, "Do we really know anything about the indwelling of the risen life of Jesus? The evidence that we do is that His Word is becoming understandable to us." I interpret "His Word" to mean "the Bible." I mean the Bible is called "the Word of God." I'm willing to admit if he's talking about intangible feelings of God telling someone something, then sure, I'm wrong. But it says there that understanding the Bible is evidence that we know about the risen life of Jesus, and he even goes on to say if we're not receptive to God, it'll prevent God from revealing things to us (again, presumably about the Bible). Understanding the Bible in this way is doctrine, yo. So he's in essence saying "If you know Jesus well, you will understand doctrine better."

After typing out the second paragraph, I see where he's coming in this other one though. Knowing doctrine isn't important in getting to know Jesus initially, and having knowledge of doctrine doesn't mean Jesus is in you (and not knowing doctrine doesn't mean he isn't). But as you come to know Jesus better, you will understand doctrine better. Okay. Got that cleared up then. :V Now that I've typed out this response it helped me understand this isn't at odds with the other devotional.
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