"But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding."
Job 32:8

Monday, May 20, 2013

Don't waste your time

I'm not sure why I do it, but perhaps I'm insane as I once heard insanity defined as the repetition of doing something while hoping for different results. Each time I go onto YouTube, or rarely on Yahoo! Answers, and I end up in the religion section, you are guaranteed to almost always find a religious debate going on in the comments.

And well, you get where I am going with this. That's exactly what happened and I ended up responding to someone who was trying to call Christians out on not obeying the Old Testament laws.

Man, I ask myself why I even bothered to provide some answers in the first place.

And so I ask myself questions like whether it was really worth it, whether I could have said something different, did I even plant any godly seeds or was it only a means of Satan to get me wound up?

It's very inspiring to hear Christian apologists debate the hard-line opposition, and while God is fully capable of using those situations for His glory, as I believe He does and gifts such Christians with the ability to engage in such debates, I believe Scripture teaches us not only to be careful with how we preach the Gospel, but also with whom.

Here is where it seems the Holy Spirit calls us to discernment because while some of us are gifted in debating, some of us aren't and we only find ourselves wound up in frustration with not only the opposition, but with our own willingness to engage in foolish quarrels that keep us from teaching Christ.

And by ending up in silly quarrels that lead no where, we miss the whole point of Christianity.

Now Scripture is clear:

1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV says, "The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit."

And we recollect Christ's words to the apostles in teaching how, as the world hated Him, so it will hate us. So it is no surprise when the world mocks us.


Matthew 7:6 NIV reads, "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

You see, while we know the state of the world and we know the cost of preaching the Gospel... Christ also taught to be careful of what we give to the world. 

"Do not give to dogs what is sacred."

And Scripture is filled with guidelines, warnings, teachings on such matters as discernment and teaching.

Titus 3:9 NIV reads, "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

Just as we have foolish controversies that go round and round in circles, so too did the apostles and churches of the early NT. This dilemma is no stranger to God's children. 

This is why Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 2 appear to be so profound when he says, 

"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power" (1 Corinthians 1:4 NIV) 

We, in our fallible ways, can so easily be lured into foolish arguments that have the appearance of wisdom. Arguments that centre on logic and trivial issues while the whole time we miss "Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 1:2

And based on His own words, it would seem Christ knew this very well as He faced such opposition Himself. And yet what was His conclusion? 

Matthew 10:14 NIV reads, "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet."

We have pearls of wisdom, the joy of the Gospel, the Giver of life indwelt... yet what do we profit if the very people we preach to devour the pearls we offer? 

Now, just as I find myself, some may wonder, "Well, what about the Great Commission and the giving of the Gospel to all nations?"

And, in response, I say, as I often like to say, "Don't get me wrong here", I believe everyone should hear the truth of God.

But. He works on His timing, not ours and we work by His discernment, not our own. 

"My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise." Psalm 51:17 NIV

God desires a contrite heart, and many voices that mock are clearly not contrite. And sometimes, instead of offering the beauty, sufficiency, supremacy and salvation of Christ in its purest form, we simply need to say "God bless you", shake the dust off our feet and wait.

Wait, because, there will come a time when God's timing is perfect and those pearls of truth, where they were once bitterness, can become life to a stubborn-turned-contrite heart. And while we all have the choice to other reject His truth or accept it, God, in His perfect timing and infinite wisdom, knows the right time for the right words. 

And God hasn't left us hanging on this discernment. 

1 Corinthians 2:15-16 NIV reads, "The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ."

He has given us His mind. His heart, His Word. And with all that He has given, we have the assurance that He will give the words that need to be spoken so that we may avoid the foolish quarrels that so often prevail, and can instead teach the truth of Christ in all its glory. 

Use your time wisely and never be afraid to brush the dust off of your feet when you need to. 

For anyone who would like a similar perspective in different words, here is a GotQuestions article. 

God bless you all.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 NIV

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