Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why We Can Be So Stupid About The Simple Things Of God

Sometimes people are deaf to what is being plainly said to them. I am sure you have had the experience of trying to explain something simple to someone but no matter how many times you explained it they just did not get it. What probably frustrated you more was the fact he was an intelligent person. Perhaps you have been on the other side of the table and you were the person who could not see what was plain for the other person to see. That can be extremely frustrating. It seems like something was inserted in our brain to block the signal that would allow us to understand. There is a simple explanation.

Often times this happens when the instructor is seeing it from one perspective but the person being instructed is looking at it from a different perspective. It would be like a mechanic trying to explain a problem in the engine while you are trying to understand by looking at the tires. Perhaps you could relate better if I said it would be like  an IPad user trying to explain a problem to a Dell owner. Until people gain the same perspective it is hard for the student to understand the teacher. This is what was happening with the disciples and Jesus. They could understand and accept most things that he taught them but they could not understand about his suffering and death:

“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” (Matthew 20:18-19)

Sounds really plain and clear to us, but we are reading it after the fact. Jesus is the mechanic explaining something about the engine to a bunch of men who are trying to understand by looking at the tires. For them, Jesus was the expected Messiah, but not as we understand the Messiah. They understood the Messiah to be the conquering king who would rid the land of the enemy and re-establish Israel as the greatest nation in the world. This is what the Torah said and this is what they were expecting. No one understood the parts of the Torah that spoke of the suffering Messiah followed by the conquering Messiah. They were expecting the Jesus we are expecting to return now, not the suffering servant who had to come first. So when he spoke of his suffering and death, they had a mental blockage and could not understand the words he was speaking.

I am afraid this happens a lot to us when it comes to God and his will for us. We have certain expectations which we believe are backed up by isolated verses from the Bible. We have certain expectations of God, coming to him with a specific perspective. We fail to recognize that he is the brain surgeon trying to explain the workings of the brain to a plumber. Our Father is more than aware of this problem with communication and that is the reason Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit. One of his purposes is to help us gain God's perspective and to teach us according to God's ways. This does require us to acknowledge that we know nothing and need help to understand. "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil." (Proverbs 3:7)

One of the most important lessons we can learn about God is that he does not think like we do and he has a much different perspective of things. He is so much greater and higher than his creation that it is not worth the effort to compare. For this reason alone, knowing how much he loves us, it is best just to trust him, even when we don't understand. In fact, things would go so much better for us if we would just relax, listen to the instructions and just do it. Sometimes we are like those people who buy Ikea furniture and try to put it together without the instructions. They end up in a mess. Although the instructions are long and look complicated, they are actually easy to follow if you start at the beginning and take it a step at a time. When it comes to Jesus, stop getting in the way, relax and listen to the Spirit. If it seems strange it is because you are limited in understanding. It is the reason we are told that without faith we cannot see God.

God is speaking plainly to us even today, do not choose to be deaf to what he is saying. It is possible to gain his perspective for better understanding but we have to lose our thoughts and opinions and allow him to teach us. That blockage in our brain can be removed and the signal can get through if we allow our minds to be renewed in the Spirit. We need some rewiring done. Let's stop complicating things and allow the Spirit to speak plain and simple to us the Word of God.

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