Posts Tagged ‘ Understanding ’

Knowing Precedes Going

I run the way of your commandments, for you enlarge my understanding. Psalm 119:32 NRSV

MP900409394[1]Many people turn to professionals for advice and counsel. As a psychologist, I have seen numerous people at the end of their ropes, who just didn’t know what else to do. I imagine they hope that I will have the answer they need. But what usually happens is that the more we talk, the better they come to understand their situation. That insight opens the door to identifying effective solutions.

Even though many of us will never seek professional counseling, I wonder if the one of the most common prayers we pray is, “What should I do, which way should I go?” We all know that having God’s guiding hand at work in our lives can make all the difference. So we wisely turn to God, and ask for God’s guidance and help.

MP900321197[1]But knowing what to do and where to go isn’t just a matter for earnest prayer. The psalmist discovered that knowing what way to go also depends on understanding God’s commands. The more we understand about God’s nature and will, as revealed in the Scriptures, the easier it becomes to discern the way our lives should go! Insight precedes solutions.

Not only that, but the more we enlarge our understanding, the less we depend on urges, impressions and intuition. Knowing God and understanding God’s ways opens our eyes, grounds our minds in truth and sensitizes our hearts to the Spirit’s work. When that happens, we are in a much better position to recognize the roads God wants us to travel.

MP900400642[1]The psalmist runs the way of God commandments, because God has given him understanding. For him, knowing precedes going. That tells me I need to spend more time, not just seeking God’s will, but enlarging my understanding and gaining insight. How about you?

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Keep On!

The wise are those who keep on listening, learning and building their skills. Proverbs 1:5 adapted

I hear people say, “I just keep on keeping on.” That sounds like a good way to live. Just keep on going. Don’t let life get you down.

MP900341719[1] But I think we can do better than just keeping on. The problem is that to keep on, when we are going the wrong direction, makes no sense. To keep on hitting our heads against walls does no good. Traveling down dead end roads, gets us nowhere.

The trick, according to the writer of Proverbs, is to keep on doing the things that will keep us going God’s way. That means to keep on listening to what God is trying to say, learning the principles revealed in God’s Word, and building spiritual muscles. The more we know about Jesus, the better we understand what God wants, and the more consistently we put into practice what we believe, the more progress we will make!

MP900401659[1] So before you decide to just keep on keeping on, take a few minutes to decide what exactly you want to keep on doing. Then really keep on, and put everything you’ve got into running the race of faith!

Seek Understanding

The wise take pleasure in understanding. Fools only find pleasure in expressing personal opinion. Proverbs 8:2 paraphrased

MP900439399[1] One of the most common questions I hear as a teacher is, “Do we have to know this for the test?” That tells me students think that there are two different kinds of knowledge, the kind you need, and the kind you don’t.

I know from my own experience as a student that there were facts I had to know, and facts I didn’t really need to remember. But I soon discovered that many of the facts I didn’t need to know for tests were still important. Those kinds of facts helped give me a better grasp of the topic, and deepened my understanding of the material. So I often ended up studying them anyway. In the end, that turned out to be a pretty good strategy.

Thankfully there are no written exams for Jesus’ followers. But we are all still trying to learn. We are trying grow in our knowledge and understanding. In fact, growing on our faith is one of the great pleasures in our lives.

But we aren’t alone in our striving to know more. Even the first disciples asked questions. They knew that everything they saw Jesus do and heard him say was important. Not once did they ask, “Do we need to know this?”

I think it is safe to say that true seekers seek understanding. Of course not everyone wants more knowledge or understanding, especially when it comes to the things of God. The writer of Proverbs calls those individuals fools. Their opinion is their truth, and expressing it whenever they can and wherever they can is their joy.

Let’s make our prayer that God will continue to instruct us and deepen our understanding. Let’s take time to explore the Scriptures and open our minds to the truth revealing work of the Holy Spirit. The more we deepen our understanding, the more pleasure we will find, and the stronger our faith will be!

MP900439540[1]

Seek Understanding and leave opinion behind!