My Agenda or His

I have been reading through the book of John in my quiet time and yesterday read the familiar story of Jesus’ miracle of feeding the multitude with only a few fish and a couple loaves of bread. Now one of the wonderful advantages of being raised in a Christian home is that the Scriptures have been clearly taught, and expounded to me from a very young age. Additionally, I  have studied God’s Word on my own since my youth. I cannot thank God enough for the blessing of being saturated in His Word, filled up with His truth since my the early days of childhood. But sometimes, in our fallen condition, we take a blessing from God, and contort it’s beauty. Tragic consequences can result.

In my case, I am ashamed to admit that the blessing of knowing God’s Word so well can render it mundane. The stories that should carry such wonder, that should challenge me at the core level, often seem almost common place.  I have even caught myself feeling like, “I’ve read that one before. Isn’t there anything new to read.” as I consider different books in the Bible.

Additionally, this kind of mindset, leads to a sense of superiority, such that my knowledge, can get in the way of my sensitivity towards others. I have caught myself considering others who don’t know the stories of the Bible with the same kind of clarity as I have, as less spiritual. A judgmental attitude takes root so quickly!

Recently Roman was talking about Christmas, and he said something beautifully profound, yet I received it with some reservation. He told his older brother, “Christmas isn’t just about telling people what your getting (his way of saying, asking for things.) It’s about giving. It’s about celebrating God’s birthday and sharing.” I loved this explanation of Christmas, and my heart was moved by his simple understanding. But at the same time, I wondered how much of what he was saying actually came from a tender heart, and how much of it, was rote. Was he just parroting back to us, what he’s already heard a hundred times from multiple sources? How do I ensure, that the Word of God, the truth of His grace is living and vibrant in my children, if I am so often jaded myself?

As  I read the story of Jesus’ feeding the multitude, I was struck by their response. This Jewish crowd was  learned in the traditions of its religion. These people knew the law.  According to their understanding, Jesus was the Messiah and should be crowned king. But no matter how well they knew the Law and the prophets, they had interpreted it according to their own agenda. The Jewish people of Jesus’ day missed out on their Messiah, not because they weren’t religious. Rather, their religion had inoculated them against true spirituality.

This kind of rote understanding of God’s Word, of assigned expectations, actually had the most tragic kinds of consequences for God’s  chosen people. They missed out on their own Messiah, so confident were they in their Religion.

God’s antidote for religion is relationship. As I consider the wealth of knowledge of have of His Word, I am aware of how needy I still am spiritually. No amount of knowledge can assure relationship. Only God’s Spirit working in me can do that. His Word is alive and powerful, and it will be to me, as I receive it from the Holy Spirit.  I cannot let the blessing of His Word in me, become to me a curse that would keep me from knowing Him, if I am yielded to His Spirit, and truly dependent upon Him.


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