God is waiting to show you the way.
23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.
—2 Timothy 2:23-26 (NLT)
God has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. When we are first saved and read the Bible, we get a perception of what God wanted us to glean from His Word. As we mature, those perceptions will change, hopefully for the better. Be careful to remember that God has not yet revealed to us all the truth in His Word.
He has given us His complete, inerrant, immutable, eternal Word. That will not change, but our perception of His Word may very well change as we study. Be careful to remember that God has not given any of us a lock on the deeper meanings of each verse. The verses are clear enough to lead us, but not so transparent that one reading will give you the depth that God has put into His Word. He may open up certain passages to one and other passages to others. The one thing we can be sure is this: If we are allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us in our studies, none of the interpretations will cause conflicts in the body of Christ. Everything we receive from the Holy Spirit is designed to give God glory and eventually bring us all to heaven. Don’t waste your time arguing over Scripture, just ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and God will give it to you liberally.
1 Corinthians 3:18-23 (NLT) 18 Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” 20 And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.” 21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
God is waiting to show you the way.
It is good to have knowledge, but just having knowledge is not being wise. Wisdom is the application of that knowledge to life situations. As we are told in Proverbs “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. To discover Who God is and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is the first step. In the book of James, we are told to ask God for wisdom and he will give it to us abundantly. Reading commentaries and listening to sermons can add to our knowledge, but for wisdom, we need to go straight to the source. No matter how wise someone thinks they are and no matter how much we respect them and their ministry, we need to always check everything we hear to see if it aligns with the Holy Scriptures. There is a lot of misinformation being taught as Scriptural. Don’t be deceived, God is waiting to give you more wisdom. Don’t be caught up with a person’s charisma or their passion. There is only one perfect person and that is Jesus Christ. Humans make errors and it is up to each of us to discern the truth and walk in it.
As we progress through life, we all pick up references from different sources. These sources can be environomental, familial, societal, or experiential. For example, have you ever tried to describe the taste of celery to anyone who has never tasted celery? To what would you compare it? You can’t just say that it tastes good or bad, since you don’t have a reference for the other person’s taste buds. These references cause us to form opinions about the things and the people that we see and meet along the way. So, when we meet someone that has had different experiences, we need to determine if we are looking at the world through the same set of glasses. When I say I am hungry, I usually just mean that I haven’t eaten in the last few hours. When a destitute person says they are hungry, it could very well mean that they haven’t eaten for days. So, the references we have had and the opinions we have based on those references cause us to see the world from different perspectives.
Think about the word “beautiful” and what comes to mind? For some, it is mountains, for others, it is seascapes, and to a hungry person, fields of grain could be the most beautiful sight in the world. I like what John Cage had to say about “beuatiful”—“The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is ‘why do I think it’s not beautiful?’. And very shortly I discover that there is no reason.”
Does this mean that everything in the world is beautiful? No, of course not, hunger, violence, abuse, and prejudices are not meant to be beautiful. That brings us to the real question. How do we perceive and respond to those who think these things are beautiful?