I thought others of you might enjoy looking over a recent email exchange I had with a brother this week:
I have been studying and studying God’s word and different interpretations of certain areas of the bible, and it seems that there are so many different opinions on things that I feel like my head is going to explode trying to figure out what is right. Some say speaking in tongues is real, others say it doesn’t exist now. Some say hell isnt eternal, some say it is, and some say that the words Gehenna, Sheol, and Hades paint a totally different picture than what we have been taught. The book of james sure does talk a lot about works, but Paul talks all about grace. I feel so confused because I have a passion for righteousness and truth, but it seems like I have no idea about anything anymore. I feel as if there is no sure way to know the right answer about certain topics like these. I feel like I dont have the answers anymore for those I witness too. I was wondering if you could give me some insight on how to rest in Him. I feel overwhelmed with trying to learn the truth.
My response: Yes, trying to learn the truth can be overwhelming… Better yet, spend time just getting to know the Truth. Inside a relationship with Jesus all these things sort out. That’s why Jesus warned us against getting caught up in doctrines and speculations. I find it best for people to just start with the simplest stories of Jesus and learning what he says about his Father and how we can live in him. All the other things are just principles and doctrines that men have argued about for centuries and none of them has one thing to do with waking up tomorrow, knowing his love and loving those he puts before us….
Yes, this helps me very much. Sometimes I get caught up in the wrong things. I am just the type of person who tries his hardest in everything that I do, and its hard to not try to figure out what’s right and then do it to the best of my ability. I just want so bad to hear his voice and to be able to love others the way he did. I guess you would say that I am a perfectionist. I will try to rest in his love for me and let it pour out onto others. Thank you very much.
I loved this exchange because of how easily he embraces a different way of seeing all of this. It isn’t easy. The intellect wants to be in charge and sort out truth on its own best understandings. But Scripture is an invitation into knowing him and when we grow in trust in who he is, we’ll begin to see the truth that really is truth. Even at that we’ll only know bits and pieces. We’re all just scratching the surface of knowing him, but knowing him our hearts will even be content in what we don’t yet understand.
Jesus warned us that truth sorts out in a relationship with the Truth, Jesus himself. If we don’t know him and the security of our love in him, we will twist the Scriptures into doctrines that seem true to the intellect, but are not the real truth. Following them will only lead us further away from knowing hi. Only by knowing him and growing in him can we discover the truth behind the simplest things Scripture teaches. But that is a life-long process, not an overnight phenomenon.
Relax! Enjoy the journey with him alongside.