Why Not Knowing Everything Is Good

FaceAdmitting to yourself (and others) that you don’t know something is a good thing because it’s a true thing.  And you know what Jesus said in John 8:32, “…the truth will set you free.”

I know, as a pastor, (the person whose supposed to know everything about everything, right?) the most freeing words I discovered were, “I dunno.”  Of course it’s important to add to that response, “…but, I will look into that.”

Of course I then need to look into the question, right?  Otherwise it was a cheap “blow-off.”  And, as much as is possible, I do some research.  I also make sure I get back to the questioner.  If I can’t come up with a helpful response…I tell them. 

[Otherwise, they end up feeling like I de-valued them.   No good.]

Learning New Stuff Is A Good Thing

I want to address what I’ve discovered about the “need to know all things,” but first I want encourage you to be a learner. Be thirsty to discover new things.  Being stuck in the cement vault of one’s long established personal opinions becomes corrosive to one’s soul.  Get out of the vault into the fresh air of discovery.  It may be scary sometimes, but it’s oh so rewarding.

Too many folks are afraid they will loose their faith if they listen (really listen) to opposing or different view points.  But, that’s unfounded fear.

As I’ve opened the ears of my heart to others, I’ve actually developed a new authenticity to my own foundation of faith.

The Need To Know All Things

The need to know all things is typically demonstrated by these two areas:

  1. The inner resistance to admitting that you don’t know an answer to something.
  2. Making up stuff.  In other words, giving an off the cuff lame answer, or repeating someone else’s lame answer that sounds spiritual but has no real scriptural evidence.  [There’s a lot of that flowing around].

Not Having To Know Brings Peace

Here’s the deal…

  1. God knows you don’t know everything about everything.  And, if He knows that already, then He isn’t expecting you to come up with every answer.  And, when you can’t, and admit it, He’s not disappointed in you.  He never appointed you or I as geniuses of the universe, therefore, it would be impossible for Him to be disappointed.
  2. He also knows you do know some things.  If you’ll trust Him to do so, He’ll arrange circumstances where you can rub shoulders with people that will help you make new discoveries, and that you can help as well.  It’s called “community.” And Father God is very big on community.
  3. Learn new things, and when necessary find them in books.
  4. Approach life hunger and thirsty to learn.  Jesus said, “He who hungers and thirsts for righteousness will be satisfied.” (Matt. 5:6)

I’ve discovered the freedom of not having to know everything.  I’ve discovered the joy found in learning.  I recommend that kind of freedom and joy.  It’s some of the best “food on the menu.”

Gary

Blog Share.001

 

 

Trinity of Faith by Gary Ellis

I’ve discovered a very helpful and practical “faith trinity” that supports my journey of walking by faith.  In a nutshell, the “trinity” contains these three elements:

  1. Speech
  2. Action
  3. Thoughts

Speech:  There are many Biblical examples of how “saying” is an integral part of faith.  The Scriptures say in Hebrews 11:3, “We know that by faith the worlds were framed…”  Genesis 1 puts it this way, “And God said, Let there be…”

Now listen to the way The Living Bible puts Romans 4:17:  …“and speaks of future events with as much certainty as though they were already past.”

Action:  I can list several scriptural examples, but let’s just snatch a homey illustration from daily life:  Sitting on a chair.  You can have faith that chairs will hold you up, but you have to make a “sitting action” before the chair will actually do for you what it’s designed to do.

Thoughts:  It’s an established fact that a human being does nothing that he/she hasn’t thought about first.  Another way of putting it is that you “see” in your mind what you are going to do – regardless of how briefly – before you take or avoid action. The Apostle Paul exhorted the Romans, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  He told the Philippians, “Think on these things…”

It is extremely important where a person allows their minds to dwell.  What one thinks about governs the reality of what they experience in life.

So, there’s my Trinity of Faith.  It’s a simple way of thinking that’s helped me keep my life focused as I’m on the God given journey of walking by faith.

Gary

 

God, I Promise! I Mean It This Time!

God, I Promise!  I Mean It This Time!  Really…Seriously…I Do!

How many of you have been caught on that hamster wheel of desperation, guilt, more promises, more failure, and…what’s the use, anyway?  I’ll just never be a good Christian.  I’ll never be what God wants me to be.

What so many Christians don’t realize is this:

We are not transformed by making promises to God.  We are transformed by the promises He makes to us!

So stop promising God stuff!

I’m not talking about the committed actions that take place from a place of love in our hearts.  I’m not talking about a “care-less” attitude and lifestyle.  I’m addressing the truth that has the actual power to transform [reshape] a person. 

The English word transform in Romans 12:1-2 is related to the word that describes a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.  According to that Scripture, the transformation [becoming the butterfly] takes place from the ongoing process of renewing the mind [changing what we consider true and real].

The Holy Spirit does the work of transformation.  We simply consider as true and real what the Holy Spirit says that Jesus became for us…on our behalf…without any help from us.  We embrace the truth.  We consciously rest in Jesus as the accomplisher of our great salvation.  The transformation begins taking place from the inside out as a result.  We transform from “caterpillars to butterflies.”

Here’s just a small sample of those “embraceables:”

  • He was made righteousness in my place and given to me as a gift.  Therefore, I no longer have to try to be a righteous person by making promises to God.
  • He was made purity in my place and given to me as a gift.  Therefore, I no longer have to try to be pure and holy by making God promises that I will try harder next time.

The Word of God is full of invitations to experience a new life.  However, it’s not about reading the verses of conduct and promising God you will do your best to do – or not do that again.  It’s not about promising you will be something you are not yet.  It’s about consciously embracing what He’s said you already are in Jesus. Resting in it as a finished work through your union with Jesus.  Therefore, becoming – from the inside out – what your attention is fixed upon.

Gary

 

 

Dismay or Display – by Gary Ellis

Dismay or display?  That’s the million dollar question.

“Wha-? Huh? Come again”? 

Okay, let me ‘splain myself, Lucy. (That reference to the vintage “I Love Lucy” TV show dates me, eh?)

Do your thoughts (the one’s that’ve been plodding down the corridors of your mind the last 30 minutes) dismay you, or display the greatness of God and His potential in your life?

I’m not attempting to get all “Zen” in this article.  It’s not about another pop-psych approach to the power of positive thinking.

Facts are facts about the human frame and how it functions.  The thought life is critical to everything.  Dr. Phil, Oprah, or Gandhi didn’t originate that truth.  God did. (All they may have done is repeat the Great Author).

  • Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
  • Romans 12:2, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
  • Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight…”

Dismaying me in all my weakness and ability to solve my current dilemma? -Or-

Displaying the ability of God and His love for me to save me in and from my current dilemma?

This isn’t one of those “wag my finger disapprovingly” and bring further dismay to each of us by focusing on “shouldas and oughtas.”  Instead it’s a positive reality check that we can think right…and in so doing we can win!  We just need to step beyond theory to practice.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable (Hebrew:  “delightful, pleasurable”) in Your sight…”

The easiest way to open the door to the son-light filled corridor is to practice being aware that Jesus (who is one spirit with His Followers) is submerged in you and you in Him…right now, right here as we read from this computer screen or smart phone.  And, the literal Presence of His Person is sufficient to handle anything, and everything, anywhere, and all the time.

The greatest challenge in learning this really easy practice of “awareness of Him” is not in opening the door to being aware of His Presence, but in remembering to open that “thought door.”

The Good News:  You get better at remembering with practice!

I’ll end today’s article with a previous quote, “It’s surprising how many things disappear when you’re staring at Jesus.”  I’ll add to that this reality. “It’s also amazing how many solutions appear when you’re staring at Jesus.”  🙂  He has a way of rubbing off on you.

Gary