But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29 (NIV)
The Bible study begins and the facilitator states, “Hello, thank you for coming tonight. Our focal verse this evening, as we walk through Deuteronomy, is 4:29. Can someone read that for us?…So, let’s open the floor for discussion. Please share what this verse means to you.” Does this sound familiar? Then everyone begins to share and it seems as though anything goes. All opinions and thoughts are embraced.
There have been times in my life where I have walked away from encounters such as this and wondered, What is the real meaning? If we only heard God’s voice responding to the prompt, would it have resembled anything we shared? Yet, we were in God’s house and we all love the LORD deeply so surely our personal discernments are aligned when it comes to interrupting Scripture. Right? Maybe? Possibly?
Okay, let’s follow a squirrel for a moment. Have you ever said something and then it was misunderstood? Has anyone ever found a different meaning in the words you uttered? Miscommunication can play havoc on relationships, jobs, families, and you name it. So, who has the right to define the words you spoke? You! They were your thoughts, whether clear or not to others-whether well articulated or poorly communicated. Only you can truly clarify the meaning or the actual message you were trying to convey. That is your authority.
Back to the original thought…I have often wondered why my upbringing in the church never spoke directly about the perspective of God nor did they ever mention making time to just listen to His voice. God’s Word is His thoughts, promises, commands, love, revealing character, and lessons, yet I was never taught how to focus on text meaning according to God. It seemed I was more exposed to the opinions of other writers, preachers, teachers, believers and the like. Please do not misinterpret what I am saying. I am not trying to communicate that their thoughts and teachings were wrong. However, I do not believe that human understanding can be correct 100% of the time. BUT, God’s discernment is always spot on! So, why not teach others how to go to the LORD to gain His view. It will always be true.
Please give me grace to go deeper. How can we ensure our Bible intake is not swayed by our own intuition and “all about me” stance? How can I safeguard the meaning I digest from Scripture to align with the pureness of God’s ways? How can I fit my life into God’s story instead of twisting His Word to fit into my life? (Oh, this is my inner thoughts speaking to myself. I am so convicted, guilty, completely ashamed of the Bible abuse I have displayed!)
My sweet friends, I had (and I am still doing this) to train myself to approach God’s Word differently. I had to find reverence and honor beyond my “good Christian” outward knowing. I had to learn how to posture and position myself on a level far from comfort by pulling my understanding out of the equation. Somehow, I had to find a foreign mindset and stance beyond my self-centered being. God taught me the importance of the Holy Spirit’s leading, the need for depth in my Biblical intake, and the significance to sit at His feet and listen. He even spotlighted the need to know when Scripture was not represented accordingly. It was almost like He said to me, “Stop manipulating my Words and accepting anyone’s interruption. Come to me…I am the author.”
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s interpretations of things.” 2 Peter 1:20 (NIV)
Submitting to God’s will and leaning not on my own understanding is how “P” of AMPS came about. It was generated by many excellent role models, pastors, and authors who instilled the significance of comprehending Scripture in alignment with the Father’s intent. The Holy Spirit made an impact on my heart and mind by highlighting where I should go for true wisdom.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 (NIV)
“Our mere knowledge of Scripture cannot achieve or maintain the support His Holy Word was meant to uphold without being rooted deep in prayer, submission, and faith. God’s perspective is essential as we absorb Scripture and come to know Him more. As we gain biblical knowledge and sharpen our skills under His authority, the more we will realize the significance of being in a relationship with the LORD. God wants us striving daily to grow in spiritual maturity through prayer, reading His Word, and meditating upon Scripture to receive His wisdom for daily living.” (pgs. 124-125 of Crown the Sword)
May His knowledge be regarded as the most valuable asset you can obtain. I pray we remember to hold it in high esteem and treasure it always-a precious, priceless gem only defined by God.