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Faith and Opinions

We all have our opinions about things. But are there some times that we should keep our opinions to ourselves?

I’ve been posting from the book of James. He’s been telling us that our speaking and actions need to line up with our faith. Further; that faith must be born of the Holy Spirit’s work in us.

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
James 3:1

Sometimes the placement of the chapters and verses in the Bible cause us to miss important truths. This is one of those places. Because this is the start of a new chapter, we think it starts a new thought. It doesn’t.

James is still talking about our speaking that must line up with what the Holy Spirit speaks. The original Greek of this passage says that not many should make themselves to be teachers. It’s talking about when I presume that you need me to give you my opinion about the way things are.

This verse gives us the reason why we have to be very careful in how we give out our opinions. We need to ask ourselves if our opinions line up with the Holy Spirit’s opinion. Because His is the only one that matters. We are going to be judged on what we instruct others to do.

Jesus explained this very concept to His disciples when preparing them for His death.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
John 14:25-26

Jesus explains to the disciples that the Holy Spirit will do two things – teach them and remind them. I want to deal with the teaching aspect of the Spirit. Jesus said that He will teach you everything.

That’s especially important for someone like me to understand. God has called me to be a teacher in the body of Christ. That means that my attitude must be pure before God. I’m teaching, but my hope is that at the same time the Holy Spirit is teaching you.

The problem is that some people prepare as if it’s them doing the teaching. That’s not the way it should be.

I know from the comments that I get from people, that I’m a good teacher. It’s a gift that God has given me. I’ve used this gift in the past to teach math, physics, hiking, and a number of other things.

But when it comes to teaching others how to live for Christ, I don’t want to be the one teaching you. I might be the one doing the talking or writing, but I want the Holy Spirit to do the teaching.

When I was young in the ministry, there was a prayer that I always prayed just before I got up to speak. I still do it from time to time, but I presume that the Holy Spirit knows that it’s always my desire. The prayer is, “Lord help me to remember what you want me to remember, and to forget what you want me to forget.”

You don’t know how freeing this is to me. There have been many times that I’ve forgotten things that I’ve wanted to share in my preaching. Later on I remember, but it doesn’t trouble me at all, because I know that it was the Holy Spirit that didn’t want it shared.

Other times I think of things, while I’m preaching, that I never prepared to say. I believe that it was God reminding me something He wanted said. Very often, that was the part of the message that touched people the most.

The truth is that if I take on the exclusive role as teacher, then the burden of responsibility is on me. I don’t want to be judged that strictly. I’m much more comfortable with the role of assistant teacher to the Holy Spirit.

Question: How do people use their opinions to teach others?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Posted by on March 24, 2017 in Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Choosing to Understand

Music SmokeWe live in a society where we have all but given up on understanding.  In many schools we’re taught how we need to think.  Don’t ask why, just agree.

We now have a generation of people who voice opinions, but don’t know why they have them.  The media is constantly telling us what we need to wear, listen to, and watch.  After all, “This is what everybody thinks.”

Scripture gives us a different perspective.

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Proverbs 4:7

As believers, we are told to seek wisdom and understanding.  We don’t just blindly follow the crowd.  There is a reason we are on the earth and it’s our job to find out why.

God has a plan for everyone’s life.  We’re not just random.  Life has meaning.  The problem is that most people are afraid to find out the meaning of life.  They would rather just “go with the flow.”

The issue is that wisdom and understanding will cost you something.  They bring responsibility with them and that’s what we’re really afraid of.

If we don’t understand, then we are not responsible for what we do.  That’s the key.  Understanding and the resulting responsibility requires self-control.

That’s the reason that many people choose atheism.  If there is a God, then I’m responsible to live under that understanding.  My actions will have to be controlled.

But there’s even more to it than that.

Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
2 Timothy 2:7

Paul literally tells Timothy to apply your mind to understand.  Understanding takes initiative – it doesn’t just fall out of the sky.

The good news is that if we take this first step, then the Lord will give you the next level of understanding.  The word insight that Paul uses is the Greek word suneisis.  It means to put together.

The fact is that understanding puts truth together.  We have to do this with many truths if we are to live a fulfilled life.

For instance – there is a God, He will judge the world, and I will live forever someplace.  These are all truths that are important all by themselves.  But when I put them together by wisdom and understanding they take on a whole new level of importance.  Now my choices are more limited than when I thought there were no consequences.

That’s why understanding is the foundation of coming to Christ.  We have to put together our need and His provision.  Then I have to bring my actions – and faith – into line with my understanding.

Question: Do you actively seek wisdom and understanding from the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Encouragement, Prayer

 

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