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Below the Surface of Our Reality

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“Things are not always as they seem” is a famous quote by Phaedrus, a fairly famous Athenian aristocrat who was in the inner circle of Plato.  Phaedrus apparently did not have his own system of philosophy and drifted from one teaching to the other to be able to have a dialogue with the so-called “greats” of the day, including Socrates.  He, like these men, would sit around and mull over the condition of the world and the human mind and come to conclusions that we have allowed to mold our thinking to this day.  The quote, in it’s use of the words is actually very astute and correct, but coming from Phaedrus probably didn’t have a lot of deep thought in it.  The philosophers of the day came across as having great minds that could help people seeking the “real” truth about life, but in reality the Bible is the only “real” truth.  If you are a seeker…..YOU WILL FIND!!!  God doesn’t hold back anything from us in the area of truth and He actually overwhelms us, if we will look deeper into what He is saying.

In 1 Corinthians 2:1-11, the Apostle Paul was very upfront about his grasp of the deeper things of God.  In verses 1-9 Paul presents his case,

1-2  You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified. 3-5 I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else. 6-10 We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text:  No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.In this scripture Paul shares that he didn’t try to offer diatribes to make those early believers be impressed by his words and Paul shares that the truth they are getting is not in line with the latest philosophies.  This truth is simple, and plain, yet very deep when looked at with spiritual eyes.  Those spiritual eyes linked with spiritual understanding that is made possible through the Holy Spirit’s direction in a believer’s life opens up the floodgates of understanding and helps the seeker look at life and the world in a whole new way.  This whole new way is a prompted response to seeking God and His truth and drives a deep root of understanding in those who are seeking.  Look at what Paul says in verse 10 and 11 of the same chapter. 10-11 The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us.  God lets us “in on it!”  If you are a seeker then your heart jumps when you hear this!!!  We get in on the mysteries of life and the explanation about true happiness and peace and joy and etc….  Maybe the reason so many believers are so weak in their faith is because they are not “seekers”, but just Bible readers.  I think it is time to crank up the desire to learn these great truths from God and study His Word with an open mind and let Him reveal them to us.  Just keep in mind, all of these truths are right there, just below the surface of what we know to be reality.  Our reality is based on heresay and second hand truths.  But God’s Word is pure and undefiled by human reasoning and not polluted by the philosophies of the day.  God’s Word is fresh and real and deep.  His Word affects us deeply and changes our reality to fall in line with His plan and He doesn’t withhold it from us.  Just a warning!  God’s ways are different from the worlds and His ways are much higher than what the world calls truth.  How do we get this way of thinking?  We read on in 1 Corinthians 2 and Paul shares this word in verses 12 and 13. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.  

You may not have realized what the term “personal relationship with Jesus” actually means, but you do now!  Jesus alluded to this great truth in John 8:32 Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”  When those who are free, are free indeed, get in on this truth their lives are forever changed and the worldly way of thinking is replaced with a Godly way of thinking.  Then we live our daily life out of the glow of that kind of relationship with Jesus.  And of course, that truth puts us in a deeper relationship with our Savior and that is found somewhere below the surface of the reality we used to live in.  Apparently there were believers in the church at Corinth who should have been living vibrant, growing spiritual lives but were struggling with nonspiritual things like abuse, gossip, lack of commitment (is this sounding familiar?) and Paul was sharing with them the deeper things of God because they were too surface and not deep enough in their understanding of God’s ways.  Time Warp to present day Christianity and we see ministers scratching their heads and wondering why we cannot get our people to accept equipping from us and we see church members trying to get in positions of power to sway how the church goes.  Now all of this makes sense.   So Phaedrus’ saying does mean something where he says, “Things are not always as they seem.”

Lets try this. Lets change totally our way of thinking about this whole Christianity thing and lets start looking to God’s Word for “how to do it.” You know, the Christian life.  Take God’s Word “at His Word” and start living exactly as the Bible says to live and see what comes out of it.  I will say it will probably be a radical change to everything we do.  The Lord’s explanation of the effects of grace on our daily attitude will change drastically how we perceive ourselves and thus how we perceive others. The Lord’s explanation of the extent of His power will revolutionize how we approach faith and thus change the possibilities of the effect of the Lord’s church in this world.  The ability to work in community with other believers will be a drastic departure from the political way we are doing it now and we will see what true like mindedness is in it’s purest form, and so on.

Right now we have a reality that we know, but just below the surface of that reality are eternal truths about living life that God is wanting to show us and call us to follow.  Are you game for seeking these great truths out?  Then you need to begin reading God’s word with a whole new way of thinking and openness to the Spirit’s leading and you will find that truth is right there waiting to be exposed.  I love this verse in the above scripture. The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us.  

Wow!!  So refreshing and so good for each of us who are seeking.  His truth is just below the surface of the reality we know and that takes us in to the reality of God.  I’m in for that!! How bout you?

The Pilgrimage continues…..

David Warren

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