Saturday, May 5, 2018

"Pretty good"

"Give yourselves to disciplined instruction, open your ears to tested knowledge." (Proverbs 23:12)

One of the easiest things for many of us to do is to believe what we are told or taught without ever seeking to validate the knowledge shared. As a believer in Christ, we have an obligation to avoid blind belief in everything we are taught or are exposed to over the course of our lives. There is an expectation that we will apply ourselves to learning - active, involved, frequent and committed study of the Scriptures. As believers, we should offer words of wisdom, thoughts that challenge each other to grow, and even subtle humor that draws us closer together in the Lord - thereby applying what it is we are being taught.

Disciplined instruction is characterized by that which produces development of self-control (something I lack more than I'd like to admit), obedient actions (also not a consistent thing in my life), and orderly conduct (well, might as well confess to all three). We often "bristle against" anything that smacks of discipline or obedience because it rubs us the wrong way - it is going to "cost us" something and that makes it challenging. It challenges us and often requires that dreaded thing: "change". For many of us, nothing challenges us more than being called upon to actually change - after all, most of us see ourselves as 'pretty good' individuals. "Pretty good" isn't really good enough if we are to examine ourselves through God's eyes, though.

God expects that we will be open to the correction that he identifies as necessary in our lives as we apply ourselves to gaining that deep, intense spiritual knowledge he desires to share with us. Study of the scriptures can be a difficult pursuit for even the best scholar, but nothing pleases the Lord more than to see us delve in, even if we don't always "get it" as we are reading it through the first time.  We are each given a tutor to take us verse by verse through these 66 books known as the Holy Bible. He is the Holy Spirit and he is an awesome teacher - all he needs is attentive and responsive students.

As truth is revealed in the Word by the Holy Spirit, course correction will inevitably be called for in our lives. The simple truth is that none of us "lines up" to the characteristics of a righteous, obedient servant of Christ 100% of the time - we are 'pretty good', but not 'all the way good'. We struggle with ALWAYS being honest, ALWAYS being kind, ALWAYS being loving, and the list could go on. God not only asks that we are disciplined in exploring what he has for us in his Word, the Bible, but that we examine the knowledge we receive, putting it to use in our lives on a daily basis. Knowledge applied is powerful - bringing change, release, and honest transformation of character - moving us from 'pretty good' to 'all good'. Just sayin!