“My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts” :: By Grant Phillips

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8)

In 1709 Alexander Pope (1688-1744) wrote in his, “An Essay on Criticism” the following words.

“A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.”

An explanation was provided for this essay as follows:

“The modern meaning translates to mean that people with a small amount of knowledge often think that they have more ‘expertise’ than they really do. Sometimes, when this perceived ‘expertise’ translates into action, it can result in unpredictable or even tragic consequences.”

I wonder how many teachers who have spent years studying in their field of expertise have experienced a student who thinks they now know more than the teacher. Maybe a first year med student thinking they can practice medicine or a first year law student who thinks they’re ready to hang their shingle out.

I’ve seen this so often from new Christians. They’re still drinking milk, but think they’re ready for meat. Maybe this is why Paul told Timothy to not permit a novice to hold the office of pastor.

“Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” (1Timothy 3:6)

There’s one thing a Christian needs to be very careful about in studying the Bible. It is imperative that he/she not allow “head knowledge” to over-ride the teaching of the Holy Spirit. For example:

I may have the mechanics down in playing checkers, but if I don’t understand the game of checkers, I really don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just moving pieces around, hoping something will work.

I’ve seen some people give the Hebrew or Greek word for a Scripture passage, quote from their favorite Bible teacher, supply several supportive verses and still not get the point. None of these things are necessarily wrong, so what’s the problem?

The problem is sometimes we forget that God the Holy Spirit is our teacher. We forget that we need to honestly ask His guidance in understanding what He wants us to know at that point in time. We need to ask for humility and shy away from pride that does nothing more than puff up our ego. We need to accept that the Lord will lead us in knowing His Word at His pleasure.

After submitting our will to the Teacher, the Holy Spirit, we should keep an open mind, and wait for His revealing of the “whole picture.” What do I mean by the “whole picture?” I’ve given this example before, but this explains what I’m saying:

A painting is hanging on the wall. We are blindfolded and led up to it and told to place our face right up against it. The blindfold is removed. Then we are told to state what is in the painting. All we can see, being so close, is a leaf on a tree, so we conclude the painting is about trees. However, when we step back we can see that the painting is of a town with many buildings, a park, a lake and people. All we saw though was one tree in the park, so we concluded it was about trees. We didn’t see the “whole picture.”

Understanding the Bible is like that. As God the Holy Spirit walks through the Scriptures with us each day, we see a little more and a little more and a little more. We’ll never see the “whole picture” though, because only God knows what is in the “whole picture.” Remember the verse above?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8)

As we say in the country, here is where we should not “get above our raising” or “get too big for our britches.” It’s very tempting to “get on our high horse,” but that is not advisable. Believe me, the Lord knows how to keep us humble, so why not just try to remain humble? (Remember the “woodshed.”)

I wrote an article recently called “Does God Pick And Choose?” It mentioned the Arminian view and Calvinist view of Scripture. My conclusion was that there are some things that only God understands. In other words, only God can see the “whole picture” of some things we just aren’t capable of understanding in this life.

This is where we need to be in our spiritual life as a Christian. We want to learn as much as the Lord will teach us, but only in His time. He spent forty years training Moses before He sent him to Egypt to free His people. The Apostle Paul, as Saul, was trained by the greatest teacher of his time, Gamaliel, but Jesus still had to spend three years personally training him as God’s missionary to the Gentiles.

God will train us in His time, in His way and when we’re ready, He will lead us into our work for Him. But let us never forget, He is the teacher and we are the student.

Never be argumentative about God’s word, the Bible. This never accomplishes anything and only shows the immaturity of the one who chooses to argue. Yes, I get this occasionally, but I will not be drawn in to some else’s chicken fight. It just goes to “file 13” and is never thought of again.

I find in my own life that I am constantly learning from others, and that is good. We need to learn from each other, but search the Scriptures as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11) to see if what is being taught is true. Only the Lord has all the answers. Ask Him to show us the Truth, and be humble when understanding it.

We live in a time when those with a little knowledge become quite arrogant and

sometimes militant in their attitude toward others. Even some Christians are guilty of this. That is most unfortunate. Why? Because it shows immaturity. It shows a believer not in fellowship with the Lord as he/she should be. It shows someone who needs prayer because they’re allowing pride to delay real spiritual growth.

None of us should pride ourselves on what little Bible we think we know. If we allow ourselves to get to that point, we are not growing as a Christian should. To the contrary, the more we learn, the more humble we should become. As the greatness of our God becomes more clear so does our unworthiness before Him.

If you’ve never read the book of Job please do so. Most of us know the story, and it is a true story by the way. Job was a good man. He feared God, had complete integrity, and was the finest man in all the earth. We all know about Satan coming before God and God allowing Satan to test Job, but notice the very beginning of God and Satan’s conversion.

God said, “Where have you come from?”

Satan replied, “I have been going back and forth across the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”

Then God says to Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job …?”

God is the one who first brought up the subject of Job. Now why did God do that? Was it really because Job was such a great guy, or was there another reason?

In my opinion, after considering the entire book of Job, I believe God not only had a point to prove to Satan, but also to Job. Job had a “pride” problem. Now he most certainly was a great man and feared God, but he also was proud of his being such a good guy. I picture him somewhat like the Ephesian church Jesus addresses in Revelation 2:1-7.

All throughout the book, Job is calling upon God to defend his good stand before God to his three friends. God does vindicate Job in the end, but first of all He must address Job’s pride. Take particular note of chapters 38-42, the conversation between God and Job.

“Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind:
“Who is this that questions my wisdom
with such ignorant words?
Brace yourself like a man,
because I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell me, if you know so much.
Who determined its dimensions
and stretched out the surveying line?
What supports its foundations,
and who laid its cornerstone
as the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:1-7 NLT)

“Where does light come from,
and where does darkness go?
Can you take each to its home?
Do you know how to get there?
But of course you know all this!
For you were born before it was all created,
and you are so very experienced!” (Job 38:19-21 NLT)

“Then the LORD said to Job,
“Do you still want to argue with the Almighty?
You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?” (Job 40:1 NLT)

None of us have all the answers. Only God is all knowing and all powerful. We demean ourselves when we think we are so important we argue over the very words of God, the Bible. The silver bullet that kills this kind of pride is found in 1 Corinthians 13:13.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

I think of the verse we started with (Isaiah 55:8 above) and I am reminded of the ants. I sit on a rock and watch the ants scurry along the ground just working away. I can see everything all around them, but they are only aware of the exact spot they are in and what they are doing at that moment. They are not aware of, and certainly do not understand the complexities of my world. The same is true with us. We are like the ants. As God looks down upon us, we only understand our little world, but never all the complexities of His. He gives us a glimpse now and then, but only when we see Him face to face will we understand, but even then, not all.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8)

Grant Phillips

Email: grantphillips@windstream.net

Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com

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