Does my experience trump the bible’s word?
Let us dive in and see an example:
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know You are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs You are doing if God were not with him.”
3Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time to be born?”
5Jesus answered “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit. 7Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
9“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10“You are Israel’s teacher,” Jesus replied, “and do you not understand these things? 11Truly, truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, and yet you people do not accept our testimony.
12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man.”
Jesus is making a statement here that about discerning who God is and trying to take examples from my life and applying them to understand further the Kingdom of God.
So my question that I hope to answer today is:
Are my experiences open to my own interpretation in the Bible/the truth about Jesus Christ?
In order for clarity on this subject matter to fully take root in our heart, I believe that it is GOOD for a Christian man/woman to fully question their walk with God to determine the truth about the character that God is building inside of each of us.
The stronger your character is, the more Jesus will test your commitment, in so that he will to further along the calling that He has placed on your life.
We are going to hop into 3 verbs that Jesus talks about in Matthew 7 as our example for this teaching, where I will fully be taking out my opinion of what I think the text means. We will look at the simple/literal translation and then dive into a deeper look at these verbs.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Ask– Make your struggles, problems, hardships, worries, fears, desires, necessities known to God in your head or out loud.
Seek– Look out for the things that you’ve asked about because God is giving you what you asked for.
Knock– If you have the courage to show up and ask God he will give it to you.
Now let’s look at another account for the same scripture verse in Luke 11.
5And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence(also means: persistence) he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:5-13 (emphasis added verse 8 + 9)
Luke’s account from this teaching implies different types of character traits then Matthews account. Luke’s account implies that there has to be an urgency, and a desire to go after to the point of annoyance/offense (even in Jesus’ culture), and a continual knocking on the door with urgency.
Lets look into the Strongs Definition to grasp a better understanding of what Luke’s word mean in verses 8-9 (www.blueletterbible.org).
Ask– αἰτέω (Greek) – ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require, make request as a favor, strictly a demand for something due.
Seek– ζητέω (Greek) – to seek (literally or figuratively); specially, (by Hebraism) to worship (God), or (in a bad sense) to plot (against life):—be (go) about, desire, endeavor, inquire (for), require, (will) seek (after, for, means); which implies a search for something hidden, to beg (as binding oneself), i.e. petition.
Knock– κρούω (Greek) – to rap:—knock; knock with heavy blow, knock with knuckles, knock at the door.
Scripture as we know is God’s truth, it NEVER contradicts itself, and when we look into the Bible it only way to compare truth is to look at truth as an ABSOLUTE. Implying that truth cannot be debated over, because it remains true regardless of opinion, wickedness, deception, or slander (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). Absolute truth cannot be debated about because it is clear and simple, but sadly, as Christians we have walked away a a bit from this sort of clear understanding. We have begun to insert OUR opinions based on our relative experiences that we try to make Jesus someone that He is not. Our experiences (if not aligned with the word) begin to contradict what scripture is telling us about God, God’s truth, and His way.
Using the comparable verses in Matthew 7 and Luke 11. Some people might argue, “I shouldn’t have to be annoying to God, he already hears me, so I don’t have to annoy him. I just trust him, and I know that he’s going to give me what I need.”
Conceptually, this sounds great; except that many times God will place us in a place of dependency on him to teach us how to trust him deeper. There will be experiences with God where it will be easy and carry a light burden, but these things are because we are fully walking in the spirit as opposed to our flesh.
So when the verse talks about continually knocking, continually seeking, continually asking, Jesus means it. He is subtly teaching about having an unashamed audacity for the Lord. So regardless of what I think, or what my personality type is, or what favorite color I have. This is an undeniable and absolute truth that has to be established in every Christian’s character, regardless of color, gender, denomination, living environment, or even what continent I live on.
All we need to learn is how to trust Jesus so much that if we continually ask him, not just complaining – but are willing to ask him for something that we are willing to go to Him for it as opposed to figuring it out in our own might, and we have the audacity to pound on the gate of his house over, and over, and over again pleading with him. He may just give us that in which we are asking for.
It doesn’t matter what my experience is, it matters who God says that I am and that I walk it out. All of these experiences that I endure through in life have to line up with scripture. What my individual gift’s and ways that I serve the Lord may change from person to person – but internally I have the same spirit as the one that Jesus has, because He lives inside each and every one of us with the Holy Spirit.
An amazing Father knows his children, so he’s not going to give you something that you’re not ready for. Some of you reading this aren’t ready to absorb all that this message is, and frankly, it’s a very mature growing tool. Wherever you find yourself, Jesus is going to use the things in your life to challenge you, in so that he can instill in you the resources, skill-sets, and character you need to take the trip you asked for. He fulfills His side of the promise.
Single Time. He Will Do.
As Christians let us confirm and constantly put our desires in check with Jesus and His word. And do everything you do in Love, which covers a multitude of sins for those whom you love. Love those who are difficult to love. Restore those who have fallen away, and lost their heart along the way. Set the captives free. Rescue the oppressed. Stand up for righteousness even if it costs you something. Feed those who are hungry. Give to anyone who asks, and take chances on people that no one else takes chances on. Even if you are harmed, God will not let you be taken away from Him.
Stay strong in Christ,