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A proverb says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5). To "lean" on one's own understanding is an attempt to be self-supporting. Without recognizing God and trusting His Word, even the greatest of minds become foolish and dark and contrary to God. The Einsteins of the world can discover great physical truths, but if they reject God they are doomed to draw many wrong conclusions.

To study the Bible one must know how to read and comprehend. A recent article, Whole Language, Half an Education?, noted that over half of all first-year college students in California need remedial reading and mathematics. Sixty percent of fourth graders are behind in reading. Imagine the spiritual repercussions of a society that is failing to teach reading comprehension (Insight Magazine, http://www.insightmag.com/articles/story3.html).

Paul taught that understanding God's will is necessary if one is to "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord" (Colossians 1:9-10). Paul's prayer for the church was that it be filled with "all spiritual wisdom and understanding." This should be our prayer too. The world tells people to trust their feelings. This is dangerous because feelings can be wrong since they rise equally from good and bad information. Paul referred to those who became "darkened" in their understanding (Ephesians 4:18). We may have come into this world ignorant, but we shouldn't leave it that way.

The mind will be darkened by taking a decidedly slanted and ungodly view of the universe (Romans 1:20-32). Take God out of one's world picture, throw everything to chance and time, and one's appreciation of life is changed. To understand the will of God, one must first believe that He exists (Hebrews 11:6).

A scribe rightly noted that we are to love God with all of our heart and understanding (Mark 12:33). The word for "understanding" refers to the putting together of things mentally as when streams of a river join into a larger stream. What shapes our understanding? Books, television, and newspapers can reshape and distort our understanding of God. Our understanding of God comes from nature, but it also must come from the Bible. If we have a distorted view of God and His will, it is impossible to love God with "all" of our understanding.

Great mysteries wait to be discovered for those who read the Bible. Paul wrote that men might understand his insight into the mysteries of God (Ephesians 3:4). Later, he warned them to not be foolish, but understand what is the will of the Lord (Ephesians 5:17). Questions of great significance wait to be answered as one reads the Bible. One cannot do what one does not understand. The student cannot complete the assignment if the lesson is not understood. Likewise, insights into these great mysteries are attained only by diligent study. Some day we will be called to answer if we did God's will (Matthew 7:21-23). It is vitally important that we now come to understand that will!

Dan Mayfield
Glad Tidings of Good Things
Volume 10/March 2005
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