“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” -1 Corinthians 1:1-5
“The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” -Ecclesiastes 12”11-12
I have been very busy lately, trying to understand things. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a deeper understanding of spiritual truth, but I have found that there is a pit on that path into which one can fall, and right now I feel like I’m sitting in that pit, too tired to climb back out.
My brain hurts. I feel battle-weary and confused. I’m not the fastest and the brightest, but I do know what Good News feels like, and this does not feel like Good News. I have been listening to a lot of people talk about what should and should not go under the banner of that News, and there are almost as many opinions as there are people.
Is there such a thing as grace on the ground? Should we as Christians strive, albeit poorly, to offer to others the same love, mercy, and forgiveness that we have been given? Or, is that strictly my Old Adam trying to get some skin in the game? Should I think at all in terms of trying to please God with the way I live my life, or is that a totally false way of thinking, because he is already well-pleased with me because of Christ?
If I feel happy and blessed when I have had an opportunity to minister to someone, is that the Holy Spirit, or is that just me, pridefully trying to take the credit which belongs to God alone?
Does “sanctification” mean to become more and more holy? Can there actually be such a thing as “more” holy? And, if there is, does it have anything to do with my improving moral behavior?
In a search for answers, I was directed to a commentary on scripture and from there to another’s response to that commentary, then to a council and next to several disputations and their follow-ups, and to who later agreed and who disagreed, etc. This is not all bad. Everything I read was intended to point to Christ, and I learned a lot; but, with every layer, I felt I was getting farther away from scripture itself, deeper into the wisdom of man and more confused.
Are the questions important? Yes. Are there absolute answers to those questions? Maybe. Probably. But, right now, I feel a hunger to get back to basics. I need to know that Jesus loves me, despite the fact that I might not have every jot and tittle of my theology figured out. I need to know that his love for me is no more dependent on my total grasp of grace than it was on my total obedience of the law. I need God to “restore to me the joy of my salvation.” I want to stop worrying about getting it all right and rest in my Savior's arms.
I’m weary of lofty speech and plausible words of wisdom. I’m deciding to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. That feels like Good News.