I Am Still Learning
By Paul R. Blake
I am still learning from others. Coral asked and answered this question: “Is it okay for a Christian to be impatient? Think it through. Jesus was not patient with the merchants and money changers in the temple, or with the Pharisees, and certainly not with the fig tree. It was perfectly okay for Him; but, we must be careful to use impatience where it belongs or in a setting where it does good and not harm. Holding onto impatience, like holding onto anger, only serves to make us boil over on others who don’t deserve it or to commit actions we will need to repent of.
Frank Walton wrote about professed Christians who cannot sit through more than a 25 minute sermon or will not attend Bible classes as being afflicted with SADD – Spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder. It is a self-inflicted disease that leads one to be fascinated by the world and bored by the word of God.
Doug Roush gave me the best definition of Bible love I have ever read: “A sincere interest in the well-being of others” (Dougie’s Definitions).
David McClister pointed out the pattern of God and humankind’s interaction in this world from the beginning: “God creates a land. God creates a people. God enters into a covenant with His people. God puts the people into the land. The people break the covenant. God puts the people out of the land. God cleanses the land. God looks for a new people to put in the land.” This is true in all three dispensations of time.
I am still full of questions and wonder at my age. And that is a wonderful thing. It means that I will have challenging questions to study about and meditate on for the rest of my life. For example: Sin seems too good to be true. I wonder if we could come to see salvation that way.
When we talk on a cell phone, we believe that there is someone on the other end and are convinced of their identity. I wonder: do we have the same level of conviction when we pray? After all, thirty years ago, what would we think of someone talking into a small rectangle believing there was someone at the other end?
I wonder: how many of the things we take for granted in this world will not be in heaven? There will no pharmacies in heaven; no hospitals, health care providers, nursing homes, funeral homes, cemeteries, or insurance companies.
I wonder: why does the Heavenly New Jerusalem have or need walls?
I wonder: what is the meaning of “Accepted in the Beloved” in Ephesians 1:6?
I wonder: how does one “walk circumspectly” in Ephesians 5:15?
I wonder: how can a man bless God or another man? David blessed God: “Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever” (1Chron. 29:10). But the Hebrew writer wrote: “Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better” (Heb. 7:7). How could David bless God?
I wonder how Elijah could eat food brought by ravens (1Kings 17:6). The Law of Moses said that all ravens were unclean (Lev. 11:13-15).
Romans 3:23 says: “Fall short of the glory of God” I wonder: what is the meaning of the glory of God in that context?
I have learned some things recently I wish I had learned in my youth. For example: Bible love is the highest, noblest, and most fulfilling feeling one can experience. It makes us whole. In Philippians 2:4, Paul wrote: “Look out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Not our interests only or their interests only, to the exclusion of the interests of others. There is the Divine expectation of balance between the two. In other words, caring for others is caring for ourselves, and caring for ourselves enables us to better care for others. I have also learned that unconditional love does not judge the feelings of another. Their feelings are not good or bad; they are just feelings. It is what they do with or about their feelings that makes them subject to judgment; and, it will be God’s judgment, not mine.
I have learned: in man’s view of God’s treatment of him, perception is one thing, but reality is another.
I have learned: for many who may be suffering in this world, deliverance will only come with the resurrection.
I have learned: we are the sum of all of our parts; our relationships are the sum of all of our interactions; in total, not in partial, snapshot moments.
I have learned that the Latin proverb is false: Inimicus inimici mei amicus meus est (“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”).
I have learned: microscopes and telescopes to help us see God in creation (Rom. 1:20). However, observing Christian behavior is profound evidence for God, greater proof than that of the created world.
I have learned: the fruit of the Spirit directs us toward God, others, and ourselves: love, joy, peace direct our attention to God; patience, kindness, goodness direct our attention to our fellowman; faithfulness, gentleness, self-control direct our attention to ourselves.