Do you test your own understanding?

This to me is an important question to consider: Do you test your own understanding?  As a Christian and follower of Jesus I believe it is important to constantly examine what I think I understand about God and the Bible.  Now this questioning of ones own understanding is not about the essential matters of doctrine and faith, but rather the thoughts, ideas, practices, and systematic thinking about God and church.  There is a problem that can easily occur in that we can reach a point on a matter where we think “we grasp it.”  In other words being certain that we know fully what God was saying and have made an assessment on the matter and have full confidence in understanding.  Personally it is a temptation for me that once I come to an understanding to consider the matter settled.  Yet, I find God often moves to teach me new aspects or areas of a matter I had not previously grasped.  One example of this for me is the matter of unity as a church.  I have long advocated the need to understand one another and be aware of the fact that we all “got something” wrong in understanding God.  The picture to me has been that of the body of Christ often separating into the different cells of the body rather than working together.  Another picture is that of staying around those that play the same notes and instrument and missing the bigger symphony.  Then God showed me otherwise and awakened my eyes and ears to the depth and level of deception that has infiltrated the church.  There are things that previously passed off as petty and judgmental that truly is identifying significant danger that is serious.  So I find this principle at work, God often will show and lead us in one direction and then when we have engaged in the change and direction he desires, he can show us what we missed or failed to understand.  The thing is our understanding is limited and we inject ourselves and our own thoughts all too often. We also can easily rely on ‘teachers’ who we have respected and can fail to fully examine those who have taught us and impacted us to deeper understanding of God or freedom from something we did not quite understand before.  It is really important to be constantly testing everything, even our own understanding.   The motivation of that examination really needs to come from a desire to understand God and love Him better which in turn also leads to truly loving others.  Anything that comes from any other motive falls short of what God desires regarding our testing everything.  And yes, testing everything even comes down to “testing to see if in the faith. “  In other words, have I truly surrendered myself to Jesus?  Do I accept the words I have received and believe them? There are many other related questions.  So how does one test your own understanding? Start with asking God for wisdom and to reveal that which you think you understand but miss. Also ask for the Holy Spirit to reveal and open your eyes to the ways you have been deceived.  God is faithful and I can verify that He will do just that if willing to surrender you own wisdom and let God show you through His word and even through what others say.  Never be confident or settled that you “got it.”  The disciples did not get it when Jesus was with them.  He had to stay on earth forty days explaining and showing things to the disciples so they did “get it.” And even then, we needed to constant presence of the Holy Spirit to continually show us when we are off on the wrong path.  But we have to surrender and set aside self and be teachable and humble enough to turn and admit error. Remember the Bible does tells us that at our best we can only “know in part.”  So if you feel you have arrived, think you grasped it all and have no inclination to put self-understanding of God to test, you are settling for the incomplete and imperfect.

5 Responses

  1. Wow, Tim, awesome post! I’m going to copy some of this into one of the blank pages in my Bible. I had thought to pray to not miss any cues, but I never thought to ask what I thought I grasped but missed.

    I am very curious what you mean by this:

    “Then God showed awakened my eyes and ears to the depth and level of deception that has infiltrated the church. There are things that previously passed off as petty and judgmental that truly is identifying significant danger that is serious.”

    You going to post something in the forum?

    Early on, you said you knew you had an important reason for starting, and somehow I never doubted that. Do you remember saying that the lord said you would be a Peacebringer…? I do, and I am encouraged to see that you are growing in the Lord. There’s a lot of shallow in this world, and very little deep… I just grieve, because the Lord deserves better; it really shows where I live and work, a highly evangelized area where the Lord seems easily taken for granted by fence sitters…

    God bless you deeply. Hope our prayers for you & your family are answered…

  2. Eh, I see one of my “brain skips” got through and did not catch on editing. Should read God showed me.

  3. Tim, I’ve known you long enough to read past your skips, thats not what i meant. I was fishing for detail in what God showed you. This is part of what caught my eye:

    “There are things that previously passed off as petty and judgmental that truly is identifying significant danger that is serious.”

    Thats a loaded statement, and I would really like to know the specifics…

  4. Well the skip was what I noticed, still need to edit that. Let me give “promise keepers” as an example. I had no problem with it in past, saw good in people getting together. Most critcism I found to be petty. Yet after eyes be opened to some of the varied threads that exist, see the flaws and danger and error and significant danger. I really do not want to go into more details as most people do not grasp. Take the whole thread of dominionism for a more specific example. It is more than NAR, more than PDL, it reaches many layers and levels within the church and is a very significant danger. As I began to pull at and look into roots of that theological bent, it really has been a pervasive part of much of modern evangelicalism… Add in if you start pulling the thread of the New Age, trace it back and catch intersects with dominionism such as “the family” and the national prayer breakfasts it is very sobering. My call is not to pull at those threads and say see here this is wrong and that is wrong, already plenty of that to go around. Rather, it is simply the focus on what is basic sound issues that we need to attend to. Pointing at folks would get far more hits, but need to write what God sets before me. In fact, early on in this blog and took a serious finger pointing at a Frank Vennes who truly got wrapped up and deceived by Tom Petters. Yet, I didn’t know all facts and made comments about it which later had to retract. It was a lesson learned.

  5. Eh, lots of errors in the post, that is what happens when I post what think and do not take the time to reread and edit. Need to be more intentional of editing content as well as posting it.

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