Many times in conversation, brothers and sisters express wonderment over my
understanding and knowledge of the Scriptures and wonder how I gained it. I
would say there are two main reasons:
One, because of obedience and an unwillingness to compromise my faith so far
as it applies to Jesusí personal dictates to my life through the Holy Spirit.
in saying this I am not saying that there are not times of weakness in my walk
with the Lord where I do not temporarily get off the path as those who are
closest to me can testify. But when I recognize I am off the path, I love the
Lord with all my heart by taking willful initiative to get back on His perfect
best path regardless of how it makes me look in front of my brothers and sisters,
or how they feel about me in the end. The end result is a fulfillment of Jesusí
promise in the Gospel of John 14:21,
"He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and
he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will
disclose Myself to him."
When we obey Jesusí personal dictates to our lives, He promises to manifest
more of Himself and who He is in truth to us.
Second, I believe my understanding and knowledge of the Word is the result of
attitude and personal philosophy about my faith. Peter the Apostle gives a
command in Scripture as follows,
"But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make
a defense to every one who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in
you, yet with gentleness and reverence." (1 Pet 3:15).
If Christianity is all we claim it to be, the answer to all of manís
problems, needs, and questions, then it has an answer to all of manís
problems, needs, and questions. But how many of us live this out in attitude and
action? When someone asks us a question about the validity of the Christian
faith, do we respond by saying, "Donít ask questions, just believe!"
When we give this kind of response, we do not validate the Christian faith, we
in fact validate the suspicion of the person asking the question and that is
that having faith in Jesus Christ and all that it stands for is not valid.
I believe that the Christian faith is valid and because it is valid it does
have an answer for any question, problem or need. Because I do, my personal
philosophy about my faith is that if it is the answer to all of manís
problems, questions, and needs, then I should have no fear of having it tested
or challenged by the world or any individual. I may not always know the answer
at present. If I do not, I will tell the person asking the question I donít
have the answer at present, but if they will give me their address and phone
number, I will find the answer and get this information to them as soon as I do.
If we want to win people to Jesus, we cannot do this if we ignore their
honest questions and doubts. We must make the effort necessary to find the
answers so that they have a valid reason for turning to Christ. For this reason
I am not afraid to have my faith challenged. If you are afraid to have your
faith tested, what you are really saying is that you are not really convinced
yet it has or is the ultimate answer, but is rather a present convenience to
bring peace to your inner fears. If you are not free to have your faith tested,
your faith is a dead faith and the world will only mock you and call you a
deceived fanatic, not living in reality.
If our faith is real and all we claim it to be, then it will hold up under
any test. As one who has lived under this philosophy for many years, I can tell
you and testify that so far it has proved true and is the most logical answer to
all the negative assertions I have encountered so far without contradiction. My
faith is a living faith and I know that Jesus is there because He has not failed
me yet in His promise in the Gospel of John 14:18, "I will not leave you as
orphans, I will come to you." I have not seen this proved out as clearly
and completely in any other religion or philosophy I have encountered so far.
All tests, so far, have only more greatly confirmed my faith, not destroyed it,
when taken in the context of the Bible as a whole. This includes the literal
account of Genesis Chapter 1.
When I talk about having your faith tested, I am not talking about
self-imposed tests. The Bible calls this presumption and tempting God, which is
forbidden by Scripture.34 I am talking about tests that come upon you
through normal circumstances of life as a result of your walking in obedience to
Jesus to use your free time to go out and aggressively share the love of Jesus
Christ with men. When you are out on the street, on college campuses, in peopleís
homes, on the job, or wherever you are and someone asks a question at present
you cannot answer, do you make up an answer? Or do you in honesty explain to the
person that at present you do not have an answer, but will seek the Lord about
the personís questions?
When I talk about having your faith tested, I am also not talking about
arguing over speculative issues which can never be answered objectively or
responding to what Jesus is plainly telling you through the Holy Spirit is
nothing more than an evasive smoke screen from the real issue, which is the
personís need to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus and receive Him as Savior.
When this is discerned through the Holy Spirit, Jesus does not want us to waste
our time digging up the answers because it would not aid the person in coming to
Jesus because it is not the issue. What I am talking about here is, when sharing
the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Jesus shows you by the Holy Spirit that the personís
questions are legitimate and are blocking the person from releasing his faith in
Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, then yes, Jesus wants you to take the time to
seek Him for the answers so you can minister to the personís need so his faith
can be released to accept Jesus as his savior and Lord.
Jesus said in the Gospel of Mark, "And you shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart38, and with all your soul39, and with
all your mind40, and with all Your
strength."41 (Mark 12:30). Most of us when we think of this
passage of Scripture, think only about loving Jesus with our heart. We
say, "Oh Jesus, I love you with all my heart!" But then we go on and
never even consider what the rest of this passage teaches. We are to love Jesus
with all our heart, but this passage puts loving Jesus with all our hearts in
the context of equally loving Jesus with all our minds, soul, and strength as
well. What we want to deal with in this section is what it means to love Jesus
with all our minds.
Loving Jesus with all our minds does not mean going on a
striving trip the rest of your life to know everything about anything there is
to know. This is impossible by the very nature of our finite humanity.
There is such a thing as a lust of knowledge which does not
come from the Spirit of Jesus. The Apostle Paul states in the book of Ephesians
4:17, "This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you
walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their
mind." I got caught into the trap of the lust of knowledge many years ago.
What a lust of knowledge is, is when knowledge becomes your focus rather than
the Lordship of Jesus over your life. Let me put it another way. It is when you
search for knowledge for the sake of knowledge rather than looking to Jesus by
His Holy Spirit to lead you into the search of knowledge He wants you to have.
A lust of knowledge gets our eyes off of Jesus and on to
ourselves, and leads to self-righteousness, arrogance, and strife rather than
love. The Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 8:1, "Knowledge makes
arrogant, but love edifies." When we seek knowledge for the sake of
knowledge, we become arrogant because of our knowledge. The writer of Proverbs
states, "The fear of Yehovah is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge
of the Holy is understanding." (Prov 9:10)