One of the first lessons my father taught me as I was growing up is that words have meaning and that we should therefore make sure to know what those words mean.
This simple axiom has served me well. In many ways, it has protected me from being deceived by those who were ill-informed or had ulterior motives. And it has given me the patience I need to know that I don’t know everything.
In this time in history when almost every person on the planet has the potential access to information, it becomes more important to make sure you know what people are saying. Communication is not a static exchange. It is very dynamic and the nuance and texture of possible meanings can make it difficult to know if we are being effective in our communication.
If we are to take seriously the idea God has spoken, we must then consider that what he has said is the most important thing ever spoken.Tweet
This is why when we read Scripture we must take the time to make sure we know and understand, to the best of our ability, what God has chosen to capture on those sacred pages. The fact we have God’s revelation written down means God has chosen to use the medium of human language to communicate his will. So the limitation in our understanding of what God has said is not because God has made it difficult but because we have rushed to reach a conclusion.
Jesus said that the words he spoke were words of life. If we are to take seriously the idea God has spoken, we must then consider that what he has said is the most important thing ever spoken. With this as an underlying assumption and one that would be safe to make, we should engage with the Scripture in a different way. Not merely as the work of human agency, but as the work of God through human agency.
Words have meaning. And it is this meaning that makes it possible for us to have confidence we can understand what God desires. As this confidence grows we become more diligent in our obedience. And as our obedience becomes more regular our passion to serve God increases. The relationship described between desire and obedience and passion is so close as to be the same thing. But they are distinct enough for us to understand how they should relate to each other.
In the season of Lent, the practice of self-reflection and surrender is a call to a deepening awareness of God’s goodness. This goodness is seen in his willingness to declare and codify his promises and prerogatives on the pages of the Scriptures. By doing this God has bound himself to his own word. He has declared that he is not a liar nor is he one to go back on his promises. When God speaks he offers us the conditions by which he will operate and conduct himself with us. This is not a limitation upon God. It is a declaration of how he has chosen to interact with us. We can therefore have confidence that if God has said it he will fulfill it.
Therefore as we continue our march to Easter morning, we do so with the confidence that is born out of God’s character. Not out of a fear that we must sustain this faith in our own strength.