Let’s say that I mastered my numbers and letters. I can say my 1,2,3’s and A,B,C’s. I can count to 100 or 1000 or 10000000000 and that means: I can add; subtract; multiply; divide… I understand algebra and geometry and trigonometry and calculus. I can build a skyscraper and launch a spaceship and calculate the most challenging mysteries of the numerical world…All because I know how to count high. I am the Master of numbers.
And I know how to sing the alphabet song too.
“…Now I know my A,B,C’s…” And because I know my letters that means: I can read the highest level text books on any subject and write epic novels and understand all words and their meanings. Because I know the English alphabet I can master all languages. I am the Master of letters.
Let’s say that I picked up a basketball…I sat down at a piano bench… at an easel…a potters wheel…I picked up a guitar; a trombone; a snare drum…I got behind the steering wheel of an 18-wheeler truck or a jet plane…I put on skis… I opened up a lap-top computer… That means: I will be the MVP in the NBA and I will be in THE band….I will be a world-famous artist… be the best big rig driver on the planet….Olympian gold medalist… I will put together a power-point presentation that will change the world! I will be able to do this and much much more because I have been given the tools that I need.
That is all it takes… a few basic tools.
I have been around people since the day I was born… I am a natural at relationships. I have seen a million shows so I can be a movie star. I have heard a million songs so I can sing like a recording artist. I have lived my entire life in a country where the currency states “In God We Trust”. I have “pledged my allegiance to flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands… One Nation Under God…”I go to church…I always have. And if I don’t make it to church I am around people who have gone to church. I get my God knowledge through the air I breath…through osmosis.
Everybody in the world where I live… where there are TV’s; radios; books; churches; synagogues; temples; FCA; Campus Crusade; Big Time; Student Venture… where there are missionaries… ministers, pastors, evangelists, zealots … people in the world where I live know of God. Unless you are an Aborigine in a rain forest on a deserted island in Antarctica or living in a part of the world that is even more remote that I cannot even begin to imagine…
Yes, there are people who have not heard. But that is not you or me or anyone that we know.
Some people have not been given the opportunity to say, “Yes!”
But some people say, “No!”
To reject Him there must have been some basic knowledge for the person to make the choice of, “No.”
What would make someone who has heard of God say “No.”?
Let’s go back for a minute. Remember my claim that I could be a “Master” of numbers and letters and sports and arts…and everything that I have a basic knowledge of? Well, that is FALSE. It is in ERROR. At the very least it makes me seem like a braggart fool.
Living in a country with churches on every corner and Bibles in every motel room and mottos on our money and Christmas Tree and Easter Bunny traditions and our infant baptism… our family history of involvement… our familiarity of who God is… IS….I am so sorry to say….is nothing. It is NOTHING like knowing God. Too many of us have a very basic knowledge of who we think God is… based on, what? If it is based on anything other than the Word of God, the Life of Jesus or the Holy Spirit’s work in me and you, then it is FALSE. It is second-hand information that may or may not be who God is. It is a picture that someone else has painted and it may be a TERRIBLY flawed depiction.
Do you believe everything that you hear? Do you believe everything that you see? Do you believe everything that pops into your head and sounds and seems at the time to be plausible?
What if… what you are told by the news reporter; the teacher; the friend; the enemy; the parent; the child; the stranger; the preacher …what if what you are told by another person is not true? What if the novel; the movie; the conversation; the lecture; the sermon….what if man’s best information that you can seek and soak up to educate yourself is not true? How do you know what is true?
I am not saying that no one and nothing can be trusted! Not at all. But what is the source of the information and what is the motive for the information? Is it for God’s glory or for man’s? Is it to bring peace or discord? Who is the messenger and what is the message? God speaks through lots of people in lots of different ways! All the time! Every day! He wants us to see and hear Him! But we can not be a sponge that soaks everything up…or a cynic who dispels everything good along with the bad.
If this were a business deal, I would implore you to not be lazy. I would fervently encourage you to “Do your due diligence”. Due Diligence means:1: the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property 2: research and analysis of a company or organization done in preparation for a business transaction…
If you want to really know who God is then you must do your OWN due diligence. No one can do it for you. No amount of good deeds will help you understand better. Another counseling session or self-help book to understand yourself will not help you. You must seek His Face. You must read His Word and ask Him to help you with discernment. You must talk to Him like a friend and look for him all throughout the day. He will show up… in the message on the billboard; in the bird song; in the rays of sun shining through the clouds; in the snow on the mountain tops and the buds beginning to spring forth on the trees. He will be there in the pleasantly unexpected phone call from a friend; in the face of a sleeping baby or the wrinkled smile and shining eyes of the old man ahead of you in the grocery store line who is buying for one. It is called Peace that passes all understanding. It is where God is present and where He wants us to find him. Knowing about him is NOTHING like knowing Him. And there is NOTHING in the world like knowing Him. I want everyone to understand this. It is more than important.
We can know everything that man has discovered and named and tamed in this world and yet know nothing. C.J. Mahaney says, “By divine design the gospel is foolishness to all who through pride are governed by the wisdom of the world, restricted to human observation and impressed only by outward appearance.” Do you understand this? Please ask God to help you understand.
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 tells us:
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,[not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
If we think that we know something because we have a basic knowledge then we are in ERROR. Grave Error. At the very least, our pride (thinking that we are so smart) will keep us in ignorance. We know all we need to know, right? We more than get by…look at our paycheck….look at our title. But what do we really know that is important?
When we think we are knowledgeable about God without actually KNOWING God we deceive ourselves. At best we will live a life of folly. At worst we will live a life of Ashes…
“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:19
We will die. Our bodies are mortal and they will age and fail and decay. Born of flesh, from a womb, we will live…for a while. We will learn… some. But we HAVE TO UNDERSTAND that to live in the world is not the same as to LIVE the life that we are called to live when we KNOW GOD. And to learn the wisdom of the world is not the same as being Wise.
Jesus tells us in John 10:10-11, “ The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
This is Lent. Our ashes on our foreheads yesterday were a reminder that all things will perish…but YET there is Good News! Because if we KNOW God we will know that He is merciful. He has plans for us. We just have to ask Him what they are and then learn to hear Him when He tells us…and learn to trust Him when He leads us.
“One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful.” Proverbs 22:11,12
We have a King for a friend. He wants for us to know him. He wants to set us free from a life of ashes. Talk to Him. Please. Today