#761: Taking God Seriously: A Transaction of Trust
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Reflections by the Pond
May 23, 2016
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
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Every student/teacher relationship represents a transaction of trust. Every time an individual sits under the tutelage of a superior, a certain level of trust—even faith—is implicit. And the older the student, the more explicit is the level of trust.
When I was a child attending Franklin Elementary School, I had one teacher for all day, for the entire year. And short of my parents moving to a different school district, there was nothing I could do about it. My teacher for fourth grade was wonderful; the one for third grade even more so. But the hideous shrew I had for fifth still gives me nightmares. As a child, I had no say in their selection. Even in junior high and high school, where I could select my subjects and have a different teacher for each, I had no say in which one I got. Nor could I choose to leave; even if by a certain age I could legally drop out, my parents would never have permitted it.
If as an adult, however, I were to sign up for a night class on, say, "How to be a Better Writer in Five Easy Lessons," I have more control. If on that first night I observe that the teacher is a blithering idiot who has nothing new to teach me, I always have the option of leaving the class—or, if one is available, switching to a different instructor. It's a matter of trust: A teacher's role is to fill the student's life with knowledge, wisdom, and superior experience. If the student finds that the instruction of the teacher cannot be trusted, then he or she will have to leave—or look for a different teacher.
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But just as it is written,
"Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him."
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
1 Corinthians 2:9-13
If I am to be filled with God's wisdom and life, I have no other option than to go to Him. There is only one teacher of that curriculum—only one source. My only other option is to reject the instruction. I can drop out.
And many do. Like self-absorbed, short-sighted teenagers who drop out of school because they "don't need to know that," the church is populated with many who reject the outpouring of God's fuller life. Some get sidetracked by the vernacular; when phrases such as "the indwelling," "being filled with the Spirit," or (even scarier) "baptized by the Spirit," are bandied about, they elect to opt out, rather than tread mystical paths.
No matter the various dressings of tradition or doctrine, it all boils down to the same thing: being filled more with God.
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
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Like many other teenagers and young adults, I passed through a period of rebellion. It was a time when I rejected the wisdom and instruction of my earthly father, declaring them to be both insignificant and immaterial. Happily, before he went to live with my heavenly Father, I realized the utter stupidity of that position and spent good, productive times filling myself with more of my dad's life, learning more about his history, more about what lay in his heart.
Just so, before it is too late, we are to spend good, productive times with our heavenly Father, filling ourselves with more of His life.
It is a matter of trust. Filling ourselves with more of God is as profound, yet also as simple and direct, as that. It is as direct as deciding who we will trust; it is as simple as putting down our busyness to spend quiet time with Him. It means getting out of the kitchen and curling up at His feet.
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
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The world of sense intrudes upon our attention day and night for the whole of our lifetime. It is clamorous, insistent and self-demonstrating. It does not appeal to our faith; it is here, assaulting our five senses, demanding to be accepted as real and final. But sin has so clouded the lenses of our hearts that we cannot see that other reality, the City of God, shining around us. The world of sense triumphs. The visible becomes the enemy of the invisible, the temporal, of the eternal. That is the curse inherited by every member of Adam's tragic race.
At the root of the Christian life lies belief in the invisible. The object of the Christian's faith is unseen reality.
A. W. Tozer
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."
To be continued...