I’ve always been that guy who could handle himself in a word battle. Since a very young age I would look for instances with friends, family and teachers to twist words so they would play to my side of the pendulum. Didn’t matter if I actually cared about the topic at hand; but just because I could, I’d argue. I didn’t have to be educated in a subject to partake in the joys of rhetoric arguments. No one knows this vice better than my mother; case and point:
“Garrett you never make your bed when I ask you. You’re grounded.” Mother’s opening statements…..
“I never make my bed when you ask? Really? So in the 12 years I’ve been alive my bed has never been made?” Case closed. Momma always said I’d be a great lawyer.
Yeah, I was that kid
As I grew older, I learned to not get in those battle with mom because she, like my wife as I’m learning, is always right(that one’s for free). But my friends weren’t so lucky. By college everyone knew that I didn’t even have to know what I was talking about. As long as I sounded like it…shame on me. Appearance is half the battle, right?
At times it has worked to my benefit. Like writing essays in a class. The art of “diverging” to a subject matter of your choosing is an art, a gift really. However this, as I have learned, has not faired well in my recent run-in’s to Christian doctrine, theology, and seeking Truth.
For the past four years, I have surrounded myself with passionate people that have spent an entire year at an educational bible institute crafting their own personal theology on what they believe. Free will vs Pre-destination. Post Tribulations vs Pre Tribulations. How does the Bible explain the Trinity if it never uses the word? Who is God as explained in Scripture? Is Reformed Theology valuable for the Church?
All these questions have surfaced and people look to me and wondering what I think. Of course I had an opinion, I always do. But what do I think the inherent Word of God says about it. I had no idea! I could fake it. But is it really worth it to me to continue to fake it?
Paul said(Galatians 1:8-10) even if angels claimed false doctrine he said, “to hell with them.” Twice! I don’t want to ever be a part of that team. It was time for a change.
After four years of fighting my pride of thinking I know it all, I finally started to do something. These past six months have been spent in deep study and a lot of reading. This time, not for the sake of others to think of me as “smart”, but so I can look at myself and simply say, “I know my God intimately.”
Why did this take me so long to truly get? Theology isn’t about knowing the “right” answer. It is suppose to be about knowing the God we serve intimately. Our God knows us so intimately that a psalmist wrote that:
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Doesn’t that God deserve to have His people seek the intimacies of His being as well? Obviously I will never be able to fully comprehend my Creator, but I want to know Him. Not just know of Him. How can I expect to claim to serve him without knowing about Him, what He is capable of, His mission, His plans and so on? I owe it to Him.
And if that’s not enough Scripture is plain as day proclaiming that growing in our knowledge of the Gospel only brings good things to come:
“So that they may 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 2:3-4
So with the help of encouragement from a co-worker, challenges from a pastor in town, and the conviction that I am sheperding people to Truth, I have started building my own personal belief statement.
I have read more in these past five months than I have in a lifetime. I can confidently say that I know what I believe on the core “must have’s” of one’s faith. The funny thing is, the exact opposite thing is happening to me. As I am growing in knowledge, I’m feeling less and less adequate on my own doing to be “ready” or “equipped” to be carry out the Lord’s ministry of reconciliation.(2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
But isn’t that a good thing? I think for the first time, I’m experience the Holy Spirit instill Truth on my life, “But with humility comes wisdom.”-Proverbs 11:2
I want to recognize that I’m not ever going to be ready or adequate. But the Lord has promised me that I will forever be sealed with His presence. So have faith, right?
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,”- Ephesians 1:13
I pray that my heart will always make the connection to what is growing with head knowledge. The I will no longer regard Theology as something “scary” or “not my thing”. But I will take seriously the call from the Author and Protector to worship and serve him “In Spirit and in Truth”