Genesis 1:1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In the opening verse of the entire Bible, God begins to reveal Himself to us as Creator. Perhaps, on the surface that may sound obvious or even mundane, but it also reveals Him as an amazing Father, which we’ll see in greater detail as we continue. His creative nature, explains a few things about us as well. Remember, we’re made in His image (Genesis 26-27). Humanity is creative in nature as well. That’s why so many people love to create or invent. Have you noticed that we love to plan things out as well? When reading the creation account, we find that God created things in a certain order. Man was created on the sixth day instead of the first or second. Why? One reason is that in order for us to live, the earth needed to be prepared in advance. Think of all the details involved necessary for our survival. Likewise, much of what we create has a lot of forethought involved. Granted, some things don’t require a lot of thought; however, there are other things that require months or perhaps years of planning before production can even begin. Many of us love details.
We also find that God is careful in relation to us. Have you considered Psalm 139:13-18?
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.
You were planned, regardless of how the conception process began. You were precious in His sight before you were even born. You are wonderful because He is wonderful. Some may still wrestle with the idea they were planned, but Jesus Christ is actual proof they were. Ephesians 2:10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. How could God prepare good works for you beforehand, if He didn’t plan on you being there? He made preparation for you long before your arrival. In fact, He had those plans and purposes for you in hand way back in Genesis 1:1. Truly, He is an amazing Father!
Since God is creative in nature, it would be good for us to encourage others to exercise their creative gifts, and celebrate their creativity while glorifying God for those abilities.
If you don’t know God or anything about His true nature, you will have a most difficult time understanding yourself. If you have skewed beliefs about Him, your ideas about yourself will also be skewed. Why? Simply because we are made in His image (see Genesis 1:26-31). There’s a lot of talk about self-image and loads of self-help books out there to help people become better versions of themselves. Many of them talk about changing the way we think, which in turn, leads to self-improvement. There are books written by believers that have shared insights which the Lord revealed to the authors. That common thread that runs through numerous books is very valid: we must change the way we think in order to become better versions of ourselves. Even the Bible makes that very clear. Romans 12:2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Lately, there’s been much emphasis placed on our identity, and rightfully so; however, to walk in our true identity, we need a true understanding of God’s very nature. The goal is to gain His understanding. It is time to get rid of human opinion, doctrines of demons and living by hearsay. What does God actually reveal to us in Scripture, and how is He trying to reveal Himself to you on a personal level? When you read your Bible, ask Him to reveal Himself to you in the way He intended you to know Him. It would be helpful to actually read your Bible. That sounds like a given, but you may be surprised at how many think reading books with verses of Scripture in them is the same thing as getting into the Word. Moreover, a number only get into the Bible at church on Sundays. As a suggestion for you who read a lot of books, let go of them for a season and only read the Bible. Ask the Lord to what you should read and to what you should listen. He may have you read or listen to particular things, or forego them. Whatever He leads you to do, do that. A key to hearing what He may say to you is being willing to receive what He has to say to you. Stay open! Lord willing, we will begin to examine God’s nature in detail next time. This is something that could be studied for all eternity, so we’ll leave the length of this series in His hands.
John 4:24God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. True worship is a way of life that requires humility and surrender. At some point in life, each of us must decide in our heart that He actually is God and we are not. We were created for Him, and not the other way around. How many say Jesus is their Lord, but their actions prove otherwise. While everyone is “entitled” to their opinion, His is the only one that matters. Any opinion that differs from His is wrong, and there are a lot of opinions out there. If you desire to know the truth, it would be a very good idea to ask God for it. Do you actually take His thoughts on matters into account?
Part of submission is agreement, and that includes agreeing with what He says about you. It means conforming to His desires for you out of love, and yes, out of the fear of the Lord as well. It means being yourself instead of trying to be someone else. An act of worship would be not comparing yourselves to others. On one side of the coin, if you esteem someone as being “superior” to you, you will find yourself doubting who are, your God-given talents, abilities and so on. On the other side of it, if you see yourself as “the superior,” arrogance is already knocking at your door. Going farther, you might be insulting God without realizing it. He is our Maker, and He does not make things with design-flaws. He makes each of us unique to have a unique relationship with Him, and that includes the unique way each of us are designed. Some may have heard this example before, so bear with me. There was a moment I was comparing my singing voice with that of another person’s. I wanted to be able to sing the way he sang. Father (Abba –Daddy) stopped me right there and asked, “What, don’t you like the voice I gave you?” Talk about a time of repentance (thinking differently). Your voice and my voice are meant to give unique sounds that please Him. Since He gave you your voice, He is pleased with your voice when you sing to Him. “Yeah, but I sing out of key!” Perhaps, on the natural level; but, not on the spiritual. You see, if you sing praises that are truly meant to edify God, you’re in tune! When people “measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Corinthians 10:12). The King James Version says “are not wise.”
Worship means walking in love and walking in unity with the Spirit. Ephesians 4:1-3Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Bickering over doctrine in the name of truth is not an act of worship. How can it be, it is totally carnal! If your opinion about the Word sounds right, but doesn’t line up with what God actually meant, you’re still wrong. An act of corporate worship would be seeking the truth as one Body, while allowing Holy Spirit to reveal the truth. Jesus said He would guide us in all truth. Seeking to agree with each other in itself is not necessarily the answer. What if we agree on a teaching, but it is out of sync with God’s intent, does that make us one and the precept true? Of course not, we must agree with God in order for us to truly be in agreement.
James 3:13-18Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Jesus said many false teachers and prophets would come in the last days. That means there are also true teachers and prophets whom the Lord sends; but in some cases, the issue is that some have wrong perceptions about whom He sends. There are times when He wants to bring correction, but it is not always embraced by those who hear it. It is easier to dismiss them as false than receive the correction. In that instance, it is a heart issue. One example of this is the prophet, Jeremiah. Jeremiah 43:1-2But as soon as Jeremiah, whom the Lord their God had sent, had finished telling all the people all the words of the Lord their God—that is, all these words— Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie! The Lord our God has not sent you. . . Unfortunately, some will embrace false teachers and prophets, because they say what they want to hear. Even in Jeremiah’s case, the people of Judah wanted him to seek the Lord on their behalf, but did not get the response they wanted, so they rejected him as a true prophet of God (read Jeremiah 42-43). They didn’t want to repent, so they paid dearly for their hardened hearts.
There are instances when people are so entrenched in false doctrines and traditions of men that when someone brings true doctrine, it sounds false to them. It can be very disconcerting to realize you’ve been believing a lie, especially if it’s been for a lifetime.
Unfortunately, there are some individuals who have taken it upon themselves to become the “doctrine police.” They scrutinize teachers (as well as apostles, prophets and pastors) and call them false when they don’t agree with them. They make it their “duty” to “warn the Church,” and as a result, cause division. Without realizing it, they’ve become accusers of the brethren. Perhaps, their motives are pure, or at least in their eyes; however, by and large, they don’t know the hearts of those whom they attack. If the Lord did indeed send them, those who resist them are actually resisting Jesus.
Okay, so what about the one who is bringing something false to the table, but has a pure heart? He believes he teaching the truth. How can you bring correction to him if you attack him? Do you open your heart to those who accuse or attack you? Aren’t we supposed to approach one another with humility and meekness? What happens if you go to “correct” someone, and it turns out you’re the one with the false teaching? Are you open to correction? Remember, we’re all going to bow before Jesus and give an account. How we treat each other matters to Him!
Does this mean we just swallow every teaching that comes our way –hook, line and sinker? Of course not! What approach should we take? Everything starts and finishes with the heart of God. Submitting to Him is a great place to begin. Ask Him for true revelation concerning what’s being taught or said. Study to find the truth. As a suggestion, don’t try to prove or disprove it. Truth always dispels falsehood. If you try to prove something, you may overlook something that might correct anything you see that needs correction. If you try to disprove something, you may actually enter into unbelief. How so? You’re actually studying in order to not believe. Along that line, it would be possible to turn truth into a lie as far as your thinking goes. Fear and doubt walk hand-in-hand. Fear is vacant of faith, and more importantly, it’s vacant of love. Once you find and receive the truth of an issue, anything false falls to the wayside. When you have the truth, you cannot be confused.
When dealing with the person involved, everything needs to be filtered through love and the fear of the Lord. Someone may be a brother or a sister (our peer), but he or she is also God’s son or daughter. If what they teach is false, scripturally show him (in a spirit of gentleness). If his heart is pure, he’ll receive correction. It may take some time for them to see the truth, so it may not be immediate. Nonetheless, they will in due time –be patient. In this instance, he’s simply been in error –no ill-intent here. On the other hand, heretics reject correction. They do have malice in their heart. Titus 3:10A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself (KJV). The bottom line: listen to the Lord and obey what He says.
In the scheme of things, our goal is not to try to get others to believe the way we do; rather, it is for everyone to believe the way God believes, to think the way He does and walk in His ways.
Jeremiah 23:29“Is not My word like fire?” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?” We don’t have to attack those who teach false doctrine. We simply teach truth, while leaving personalities out it. Ironically, if you go around trying to warn people about false teachers and prophets, you may actually draw their attention to those who are false. In some cases, it may have the reverse affect than you intended. Some of those warned could actually become their disciples because they come to believe the opposite. They may never hear of them if you don’t mention them. Instead, teach them truth in the context of truth, and false teachers and the like will have no influence on them. Consider this: persecute it and it will grow!