My sun porch

My sun porch

Thursday, October 20, 2011

NTC day 39- persistently seeking understanding

My memory verse for this week:
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." -- 2 Timothy 2:15

NTC Day 39
Luke 18 and 1 Timothy 1-3

One who correctly handles the word of truth...I have struggled with this sentence this week. Because anyone can read the Bible and interpret it any way they want, I often worry that what I get out of what I have been reading every day is my own interpretation and not the TRUE meaning that comes from God. But, because I WANT God's approval of my thoughts and my writings, and I don't want to have cause to be ashamed of what I write, I have to persistently ask God to guide my mind and my fingers as they type. 

I have good reason for this persistence...Jesus tells a parable in Luke 18 about a widow woman who PERSISTENTLY goes to the judge in the town, pleading for justice against someone who has wronged her. He ignores her most of the time, but finally, he gets so fed up with her bugging him that he finally gives in and grants her wish. The point Jesus is trying to make here is that this human judge, who didn't even care that much about God, heard this woman's persistent pleas and gave her the justice she deserved. Our God is our judge and is so much more faithful than this flawed earthly judge, and will listen to our persistent pleas and give us the grace we NEED instead of the justice we DESERVE. He loves us that much.

But it's the persistence that gets me in this story...the woman just wouldn't give up. If you have children, you understand how kids just keep asking and asking for something they want badly....they will whine, cry, beg, plead and bug you until you can't take it any more and FINALLY give in. Children understand persistence....WHEN it's for something that they want badly enough. 

Jesus understood this about children and said that we need to come to God like a little child...I think he meant for some deeper reasons too, but persistence is part of it. Children are totally dependent on the their parents for everything. They trust that their needs will be taken care of and they are frank, open and sincere in their wants, needs and desires. They haven't had the opportunity to be jaded and hurt by life yet. 

Jesus calls us to be totally dependent on God, to trust him, to be open and frank and sincere...and persistent with our needs. In other words, we should pray continually...depending and trusting God that he will listen and grant us his grace we don't deserve, but he willingly gives.

So, when I have a need, I go to God. When I don't understand something I read in the Bible, I ask for clarity. When I am writing about God's word, I ask for God's wisdom in what I say, so that His truth comes through my words and they aren't jaded by my own thoughts and opinions.

For example: in 1Timothy 2, Paul gives instructions that women are not to teach in the church. He says they are to be quiet. Because Adam was created first and it was Eve that sinned and led Adam into sin. Well...being a woman, and a women gifted to teach, I have a lot of problems understanding Paul's meanings here and what that means for me today. I know people who believe that this is still true today, and they belong to churches where women cannot be teachers or have any leadership role in the church at all. While I see why they believe that...Paul, whose other words I believe and trust, said it, so it must have some validity, right? Because I don't understand it, and I have trouble believing it to be true, I have to give my questions and understandings to God. I have been persistent in asking about this issue for a while now...I truly believe that one day, I will have a clarity about it because God hears my prayers and one day will answer that prayer. Until then...I'd better just keep my mouth quiet about it. :-)

After all, God showed grace to Paul, who in ignorance and unbelief, persecuted Christians for a long time. If he can do that for Paul, I have faith that he will do that for me too!

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