Understanding

It takes understanding to solve a puzzle.
Call it discretion; call it wisdom; call it knowledge; call it insight; call it discernment, call it what you will, understanding is the thing we all need all the time. With the gift of understanding we organize invisible things. We place random things in a context that orders them aright. Understanding turns notes into a song. It sequences events into a narrative. It shapes words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into a message received.

Wise old King Solomon says it this way: “With all thy getting, get understanding.”

Ours is not the way of understanding.
The pieces of the puzzle just don’t seem to fit

  • The culture around us has substituted education for understanding, facts for truths, and images for insights.
  • We live in a world of surfaces: shining, attractive, commercial, and shallow.
  • Depth is for nerds.
  • Understanding is for the senile.
  • The joys of irony, the mysteries of paradox, and the wonders of the enigmatic, are lost in the flash of attention spans measured in mere seconds.
  • We numb our souls with chemicals and hypnotic entertainments because we prefer such temporal medication to any meditation of the eternal.

The good news is this: This random world has not been abandoned.

  • To this shallow world comes a Man of great depth.
  • To this chaos comes a Spirit of order and peace.
  • To the overmedicated mind comes the Balm of Gilead, the Sun of Righteousness, rising with “healing in His wings.”
  • To this wiggling, writhing population comes a Father who does not waver and whose embrace brings stillness.
  • To this decaying world comes its Creator, whose words still call wonders into existence, a future New Creation, foreshadowed now as the twice-born heart of a child of God.

With all our getting, let us get understanding.
In every company where Christ-followers labor, there should be at least one office, one work bench, one station, one workplace that is the Office-Place of the Lord. People know who among them can pray. They know whose opinion is not just so much noise. They recognize the co-worker or the boss or the subordinate who has understanding. Him or her they seek out. It may be a quick question at the water cooler or a whispered conversation in the break room or a sidebar in a staff meeting, but they know who might have an answer to be trusted, an insight to be shared. There are those in every company whose feet seem to have a lamp, and whose path seems to be illumined by a light source from somewhere else.

We must be those insightful, wise, discerning, discrete, understanding people, for no one else can be.

In this way we follow the 12 year old Jesus. We must be about our Father’s business.

Puzzle solved.

Scriptures:
Psalm 119:73-77 NKJV
Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, because I have hoped in Your word. I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Your word to Your servant. Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; for Your law is my delight.
1 Chronicles 22:11-13 NIV
“Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.
Proverb 4:7
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
James 3:13-18 NIV
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
1 Coriinthians 2:13-16 NKJV
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy* Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?”* But we have the mind of Christ.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, the Bible makes an outlandish claim: “We have the mind of Christ!” That cannot possibly mean that I am as smart as You. It means that I have You in me, including Your amazing mind. Help me listen to Your Spirit within as He brings to my mind what You have said. Give me insight into the puzzle of life that I may solve some of it every day. Let the principles You teach go so deep into my heart, that I live by them every day—today, Lord! Amen.

Song:
Open My Eyes that I May See
Words and Music: Clara H. Scott

1. Open my eyes, that I may see
glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!

2. Open my ears, that I may hear
voices of truth thou sendest clear;
and while the wave-notes fall on my ear,
everything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!

3. Open my mouth, and let me bear
gladly the warm truth everywhere;
open my heart and let me prepare
love with thy children thus to share.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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