Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

Free The Church


Knowing For Yourself: True Root in Self

When we build our views on the opinions of others we precipitously see only the tip of the iceberg.

Published on: Feb 14, 2010

This Word has been growing in my heart for several weeks. I wanted to write this earlier, but my business had kept me quite busy.

A few weeks ago in teaching gymnastics at my Christian Gymnastics School one of my children was practicing a handstand to a bridge. She fell on the landing mat without doing the bridge. I told her to push up the bridge. She said, “Yes,” then began to stand up. I told her to get down on her back and push up the bridge. She looked at me perplexed then realized I meant “now”. So she pushed up the bridge.

I stopped the class and told all the students that unless they do the movement for themselves, they will not learn to do gymnastics. I asked the children, “Where in the Bible do we have this command?” None of the kids knew. One of the moms sitting watching raised her hand, and said, “I know, I know!” So I let her answer. “In James. We are to be doers of the Word, not hearers only.”

So I turned back to the kids and told them, unless you make Jesus your own God, He will remain the God of your parents, not you. You have to believe Jesus for yourself and test Him for yourself, so that you will know that His Word to you is true.

After the class I meditated further on my own point. How many things do we believe because others have told us so, but we do not know for ourselves? There are a multitude of Bible doctrines that we have been told and believed, yet we have not been noble Bereans (Acts 17:11) and searched the Scriptures for ourselves.

How many arguments have been made by people who have accepted a particular opinion, and defended them when they did not know for sure themselves, but had accepted it because that was the opinion of the society that they were currently entertaining? I know I am guilty of this. Such arguments usually cause me embarrassment because I was not speaking from my own knowledge.

To make matters worse, so many of us are in the habit of saying that this is what we believe, without giving credit to the source where it came from. I am trying to qualify what I say (if I am sharing someone Else’s opinion), with such phrases as, “Some think,” or “Others have said,” or (if I know the individual) “So-and-so says.” Acknowledging opinions as belonging to others is essential in separating what you actually believe and know for yourself.

Since we are not omniscient, relying on “experts” has a valid place and use. I certainly do not want a doctor to operate on me who is not actually one studied and practiced in the field of medicine. His expertise is needed and is appropriate.

But the system of experts is an integral part of the world system. Preachers claim title to expertise by labeling themselves as Doctor of Divinity, or (if they don’t have the schooling) “Pastor” or “Reverend.” Such titles are shortcuts to good reputations. Someone who knows what he is talking about does not need a title. But reputations take a long time to establish, particularly real reputations that have organically grown through many demonstrations of expertise.

Jesus discourages us from relying on the use of titles, while He raised up the “unlearned” (Acts 4:13) and He Himself spoke with “authority” (Matt 7:29) of His personal experience.

Matt 23:1-3, 8-12
1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (KJV)

Knowing Christ is demonstrated in actions, not just words. Those who know Jesus for themselves will also recognize your knowledge of Christ for yourself in hearing, seeing and reading what you say and do.

There are many authors that I read that do not speak from their own heart, nor understand the Spirit of Christ, which is evident in their writings even though they are speaking about the Lord. Those who know Christ for themselves can sense in the tone the lack of the Spirit in the writing.

Having root in oneself comes from learning to trust one’s own senses. Paradigms have a way of blinding us. When we learn a paradigm (even though we are usually not aware of it), we try to fit every thing we know into that paradigm.

The Emergent Church folks have taken a lot of criticism (and many times justly so) for making doubt an impassable barrier. For some of them, they think that we can not know anything. This is the same dilemma of René Descartes. But we can know, for God has given us all the ability to know Him and to know Truth (Rom. 2) so that none are without excuse.

But the Emergents are right in one sense. We should be skeptical about the world, and in what we are told about God. Missouri is famous for their skepticism, being called the, “show me state.” All men are liars according to Psalm 116:11. That does not mean all men lie all the time. But we do live in a world filled with lies. Lies are used for selfish gain. This abounds even in the church system. What we know about Christ should be measured against our true experiences of Him. Christ is willing to show Himself to any who desire to know the Truth.

So what I told those children in my class, and the mother’s response regarding James is echoed by the writer of Hebrews.

Heb 5:13-14
13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (NIV)

Milk is second hand doctrines. Meat is knowledge that one has gained for oneself because of personal application. I am not encouraging people to simply question everything for the sake of doubt. Rather I am encouraging everyone to build a yardstick of personal knowledge that you regularly measure what you hear to guide you in knowing the Truth.

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