Give Me Understanding, Lord

Psalm 119:33-35

“Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.”

If we want the Lord to teach us his Word, we need to be students of the Word of God, and we need to allow the Holy Spirit to be our teacher.

We need to put aside all the dogmas of men who may not have the mind of Christ, and we need to read the Word of God with fresh minds, open to hear what the Spirit wants to say to us, even if it disagrees with something we have always been taught in the church or by a pastor.

We need to not go into the Scriptures just to try to prove our point, or to find something to support our beliefs, or to try to prove our arguments. If we take Scriptures out of context, we may well be able to support lots of unbiblical beliefs. But then we would not be seekers of truth.

If we want to be seekers of truth, and we honestly want the Spirit of God to teach us the ways of God, then we have to be willing to have the Spirit of God show us where we have been taught wrongly, and we need to be willing to forsake whatever teaching we had accepted previously that was false, and then we must embrace the truth as the Spirit reveals it to us.

If you, like me, have been in the gatherings of the church your whole life, or most of your life, you have been taught many things by many different people – pastors, youth workers, Sunday School teachers, small group or Bible study leaders, etc. Even if you were brought up in a fundamental evangelical church, you may have been taught some things wrongly.

When I began to read and to teach the Scriptures book by book, chapter by chapter, and verse by verse, which is what I primarily did for 13 years straight (2004-2017), I had to unlearn several things which I learned incorrectly over my lifetime.

Many times I would read a Scripture passage and the Holy Spirit would help me to see truth I had never seen before. Then, I had a choice to make. I could hold on to what I had always been taught, or I could allow the Holy Spirit to give me greater understanding into his truth, and to show me what His word really teaches, which sometimes contradicted things I had always been taught, but which, it turned out, were not biblically supported.

Psalm 119:36-38

“Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.”

Again, we have been taught and we are being taught many things by human teachers who don’t all have the mind of Christ. In fact, few of them do these days, at least here in America.

So, we need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to sift through all the junk that is being proclaimed in the name of Jesus, and we need to have ears to hear only what is truth.

Much of what is being proclaimed from American pulpits is not the true gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught by Jesus, and as taught by his apostles. Much of it is a half-truth gospel, which is a lie. For it is not the whole counsel of God. It is a lie based on cherry picked Scriptures taken out of context and made to say what itching ears want to hear.

This half-truth gospel deals with the gospel message very superficially and lightly, making it much less than what it is. It just kind of skims the surface, but it doesn’t really get to the heart of the gospel message. But that is intentional, for the intention is to deceive naïve minds and hearts.

And, that is because its foundation is not Jesus Christ, but the flesh of man. It is based in the teachings of men, not in the teachings of Scripture, not in their context, anyway, so not in truth. And, its purpose is to appeal to the flesh of man by telling them that they don’t have to submit to Christ or repent of their sins or walk in obedience to Christ and to his commands.

Yet, it isn’t always that blatant. They may superficially use the term “repent” as part of the gospel presentation, though most do not, but it is nothing more than a term meaning a decision to believe in Jesus, which is a change of mind. But a true change of mind and true belief in Jesus results in true repentance, submission to Christ as Lord, and obedience to his commands.

True belief in Jesus results in leaving our sinful lifestyles behind us and us now walking according to the Spirit of God, and not according to our flesh. It understands that our salvation is conditional upon us living for the Lord and following him in his truth and in his ways.

[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8]

But this isn’t just about guarding against false doctrine which is disguised as truth. This is about not being content with just the feel-good stuff in the Scriptures, which are often misapplied. This is about not JUST reading the Scriptures which don’t convict us of sin and only ones that make us feel warm and cozy. We need to hear it all, at least all the New Testament.

And, we need to not be superficial in our approach to Scripture, just reading it or expounding it so that we sound knowledgeable, or to impress others, or perhaps even as a cover-up for sinful lifestyles.

For, if it is for show only, we are wasting our time. If our faith is outward only, we are also wasting our time. If our support of Scripture or of those teaching it is performance only, then we are, again, wasting our time and efforts.

Psalm 119:39-40

“Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!”

It is not enough just to know the Scriptures, even the deep things of God. The whole purpose of us studying the Word of God should be so that we might apply its truths to our lives. We must not only know what the Scriptures teach, but we must walk in them, in our daily practice.

We are not to be hearers of the word only who, though the word convicts us of sin, walk away and forget what we have been shown. But we are to be doers of the word of God who follow our Lord wherever he leads us, and who walk in obedience to his commands, as a matter of life course.

For, in obedience to our Lord’s commands we find life and purpose. But this is not speaking of following a set of rules and performing in our flesh to try to gain approval from God. This is about allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us into truth and to empower us to then walk in that truth for the glory of God.

Psalm 19

Song lyrics taken from Psalm 19 KJV

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul:
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart:
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever:
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold:
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

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