Thursday, June 13, 2024

We Don't Always Know What We Don't Know

We Don't Always Know What We Don't Know 
by David Brenneman 

‭"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:2-27.
We all, whether Believers or not, are easily deceived by the god of this world, or even more simply, by ourselves. 

We can think well of ourselves.
That we're doing ok. That we've pretty much got a good thing going concerning living life. 

We can...but sometimes...we try to hide the truth from ourselves and others. 

Read in Nehemiah 8 and 9. A people who were indeed broken in heart stood to hear the book of the Law. Heard of how greatly they and their ancestors had been towards their Holy God, the Lord of Hosts. 

A tender heart that is obedient to the Lord, one that listens, is one that grows in the Lord. 

Watch enough videos of supposed real life people with problems and honestly it can make you weep for mankind. Pride and arrogance, self-willed, self-centeredness is rampant in this hour in which we live. A world with nothing but anger at a low boil and whether or not they admit it, it's directed at God.

Scripture says that there's coming a day when enough will be enough. The "fullness of the Gentiles" it says. Jesus will return and remove His Church from the playing field of life. From the world picture.  

We are a people who can choose to be ignorant or educated. We can choose the way of the world or the ways of God in Christ Jesus.

My Dear Reader you face that choice every single moment of your day.

In everything from clothes to wear to hygiene to walking vs running. To smiling to frowning. To seeking God's help or to putting a hand up to God and essentially telling Him you got this. 

We are not going through this life on our every whim. Our lives, especially in Christ, are happening for a purpose. One purpose. To get the most out of it requires a life that looks to the wisdom of God in Christ Jesus and not to ourselves. It's to understand that there's reasons for how life is and that understanding only comes from hearing from God. 

But oh so many of us aren't good listeners. Been reading Dr. Charles Stanley's book "Listening to God". 

You should get it. In Nehemiah 8-9 we read of these in this remnant of people confessing their sins and the sins of their fathers. Then...comes the listening part.

Don't jump to the conclusion that God wouldn't speak to you. If we actually read the part in James of asking for wisdom we see that listening is a requirement to asking God for wisdom.

If we look around at our lives and are not seeing a life that's about Christ then who's life is being seen?

If we are exceedingly blessed and are not helping others, who's life is being seen? 

Would anyone after you leave this world say without question that you were a follower of Jesus?  

Regardless of how wonderful life might look for you, anyone's days can be numbered. God's called countless billions of people from this world who were perfectly healthy with no notice whatsoever. 

Stepping into eternity is everyone's next step after death. Where you spend it is your choice. The cross of Jesus Christ brought choice to receive or reject His salvation and His plan and purpose for each Believer. Those who reject Christ will face eternal separation from God, paying for their own sins. Those who had their sins wiped away through the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus will know His rest and peace in their next step into eternity. 

My Dear the children of Israel had said to them, so does God say to you. Before you today is death and life. You must choose in every day and moment of your day to follow Jesus. Whether the world agrees to it or not. All Believer's answer to God. Believer's who intentionally choose sin over obedience will have troubles. 

We are exhorted in the Scriptures to have the mind of Christ. To not trust in our own understanding. To trust in the Lord with all our hearts. In all our ways acknowledge Him and He will make our paths straight. Pray with both speaking and listening on our part.

We are told to consider our ways. 
So say I to you...and myself. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.  

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