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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Not gullible...nor naive

Have you ever noticed how some mornings the coffee just tastes better than other mornings?  It is the same coffee you scoop from the canister - you didn't change brands.  It is the same water you take from the tap - you didn't get a new water source.  It is even the same favorite coffee cup - you didn't change the vessel into which it is poured.  It is the same brewer you are using - you didn't even get a new coffee maker.  So, what is the difference?  I think if may just be something "internal" to us which appreciates the flavor, warmth, and rich body of that dark liquid that particular morning!  WE are the difference - it is our attitude toward that coffee - our perception of it is different today than it might have been yesterday.  We craved it a little more, our taste buds were "tuned up" to receive it, and the flow of the warm liquid over our tongues and into our stomach just caused us to sit up and take notice of the richness of the brew. It is often the way we approach God's Word which makes it come alive to us, as well.  When we are looking forward to it because there is something which kind of craves getting something out of it that day, it brings a much greater sense of having "enjoyed it", doesn't it?  We also might just not realize how many other places we are looking for that "satisfaction" until we take in the "good stuff" God has for us.

O people! I am calling to you; I have a message for all humanity.  You gullible people, acquire insight.  You naive ones, cultivate a heart that truly understands.  Listen, for I am about to tell you of unparalleled excellence and beauty; what I am about to say will set things right.  I will only speak the truth; I despise evil, so it will not pass through my lips.  Everything I say promotes justice; not one word is crooked, and nothing is distorted.  Each and every word is straight talk to perceptive people, upright and honest to knowledge-seekers.  Accept my correction as being more valuable than your prized possession, authentic knowledge more valuable than pure gold.  (Proverbs 8:4-10 VOICE)

Gullible people are easily deceived - there is a tendency to believe all that is said, not ever really testing it to see if it is genuine or not.  They are told to acquire insight.  Insight is simply the ability to apprehend the true nature of a thing or matter.  It is the process of "intuitive understanding" which makes some kind of connection within us and tells us what we are "taking in" is good for us.  Gullible people just consume - they don't question what they are consuming, nor do they really have to know it is good for them - they just consume for the sake of consuming.  To counter this they need to acquire (get, go after, don't let up until they have it in their possession) this "understanding" or "apprehension" of the true nature of whatever it is they are taking in.

Naive people are pretty much relying upon whatever judgment they can muster at the moment, but they lack the consistency of judgment to really make wise choices all of the time.  Sometimes this is because they haven't been exposed to something before, so they believe that is the way things are all of the time.  Whenever something counters that perception of "reality", they might be a little confused, or even reject it simply because it didn't fit their perception of what was supposed to happen or the way they had come to know something to be.  There is a general lack of experience with the subject of their attention, so they just don't know better and they may make bad decisions simply because they are not "schooled" in the subject.  This is why they are told to cultivate a heart which truly understands - for they need to apply themselves to learning what it is they don't know.

God's Word is straight talk to perceptive people and upright and honest instruction to knowledge-seekers.  In other words, when we come to God's Word with an open mind to receive whatever it is he has prepared for us this day, then we seek to gain insight and acquire knowledge of truth, we won't be disappointed.  Perceptive people are discerning - they show good judgment.  Perception occurs because there is a focus toward being observant of the little stuff - there is this tendency to get all we can out of something by dividing it into its parts.  As a kid, I took things apart to figure out how they work.  Well, I am no different today - I still like to take things apart because when I understand how they fit together to produce whatever it is they are designed to produce, I find I appreciate all the "working parts".  What we discover in God's Word today may just be because we are desirous of understanding all the "working parts"!

Instruction is merely direction - it gives us the framework by which something is accomplished.  A recipe is nothing more than a framework.  If you have ever made something for the first time, you may have followed the recipe (put in all the right ingredients), but what you "produce" as the finished product doesn't even come close to resembling the finished product in the image on the recipe card!  Why?  You are a novice at preparing the dish.  The more you "work" that recipe, the closer and closer you will come to producing the similar "product" in the end.  The more and more we allow God's Word to work within us, the closer and closer we will come to seeing what it is God wants to produce by the application of that Word within us.

We don't have to be gullible or naive when it comes to the study of God's Word.  It may not come easy to us the first, second, or even fiftieth time we consider a passage. But...with the consistency of application, we will see the evidence of truth doing its work within!  Just sayin!