Discovery, Discipline, Disclosure
I never get tired of soaking in the depth, the complexity, the intricacy, the vastness of the Scriptures. When I quote my favorite verse, Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God . . . (Romans 11:33), this is what I’m talking about. The next verse (11:34) says, Who has known the mind of the Lord? He is so far beyond comprehension that only His grace stops Him from laughing at our petty attempts to understand Him . . . that, and the fact that He delights in our efforts.
Just stop and consider His Greatness for a minute. Read through Job 38 if you need some prompting.
But sometimes I get so deep in all of the depth that I lose sight of the fundamentals. It’s a forest-for-the-trees thing or maybe a read-every-descriptive-sign-in-the-museum kind of thing. (So, I’m a compulsive reader. Hey-I’ve finally stopped reading the two-page drug warnings in my favorite cooking magazine!) Then He has to pull me out, set me back in a healthy perspective, and point out the view again.
As we strolled through Colossians recently, the Father had me pondering the flesh-life compared to the faith-life when an incredibly clean and simple explanation of the faith-life came to light. Consider this:
Know God; know the Bible. Paul says that He wants the believers to have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3; I wish we could spend a couple of days on this sentence.). A mystery is something that has to be solved, explored, sorted-out. Satisfaction in the faith-life comes from knowing Him. Our discovery is rooted in and springs from our faith, but that same discovery increases our faith. How fantastic! God wants me to continually learn more about Him.
Live out what you know. Paul goes on to say, I . . . delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is (2:5). God calls us to discipline our minds and bodies to bring Him greater glory. Do I really need to give you the back-up verses on this? Okay, maybe just one: but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27 NASB). Discipline is a physical thing: being healthy, getting enough sleep, refraining from substance abuse, even wearing sun screen. It’s a material thing: spending habits, possessions, home location. It’s a mental/emotional thing: self-control, rightly-directed love, a guarded mind. It’s a spiritual thing: prayer time, study time, listening to the Holy Spirit throughout the day.
This type of disciplined lifestyle isn’t easy. But God doesn’t say, “Live this way!” then leave us to struggle through it. First Peter 1:3 says, His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (Look. Really look at this verse: Our discovery, i.e. knowledge, empowers our discipline, i.e. godly life! Isn’t that great? Yes, it is. Check out Ecclesiastes 12:13, too.) You’ve heard the thought, “What He calls us to, He equips us for,” and it’s true. On the Desiring God blog, David Mathis said, “Turn your eyes and attention, yes, but not to a mere diversion, but to the source of true change and real power that is outside yourself, where you can lawfully indulge. The key to self-control is not inward, but upward.” (This whole post is really good, if you have a chance to read it.)
Talk about Him. Just a bit earlier (1:27-28) Paul said, . . . Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom. God calls us to take what we know about Him and live it out in front of an unbelieving world—both with our lives and our words. Discovery tells us what to talk about. Discipline gives us a platform for speaking. As others see how we live and approach life’s problems, we’ve already brought Him glory, but then we also have opportunities to share what we are continually discovering about Him, which brings them closer to full maturity in Christ (Col 1:28b).
What is being a Christ-follower about? Continually learning more about Him, living in a way that brings Him glory, and telling people about Him. Discovery, Discipline, Disclosure. That’s not too complicated.