Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Holy Trembling Fear

I do not know if this is a "guy" thing, or not; but it seems that I have always had a desire to have my doctrine right. I do not like it when I feel like I do not understand, or at least have a basic grasp on doctrinal issues. I want to have it right! I want to have an assurance that what I believe is correct. I want to understand an issue enough to be able to defend and support what I believe and why.

I have spent hours and sometimes days pouring over verses, looking in the concordance, and pondering what I am finding about various doctrines, such as: baptism, communion, spirit and soul, being born again, being saved, apostasy, etc. I usually stay with one until I feel like I have an understanding of what it means and how it "fits".

When it does not fit any better than the glass slipper on the foot of Cinderella, it is not a fit at all. The "fits" part is what can cause fits. You can spend a lot of time and think you are getting it and then read the next verse that blows it out of the water. When it does not "fit" something in your belief system still needs to be tweaked. The doctrine lies in the details of the fine-tuning.

I not only want my doctrine to be correct, but I enjoy the fine-tuning challenge. I acknowledge that on my own, I would get nothing and none of these would fit at all. But, scripture tells us the Holy Spirit will teach us and I rely upon that truth to reveal what needs to be changed in my belief system so that the various parts fit together.

I am also challenged on another level. I have a "seminary kid". Before you jump on me for that term, it is a label that Wayne used about himself. Wayne and I have had several long discussions about various doctrines. What he has learned - most understandably - puts me at a considerable disadvantage when we do not see the same issue, eye-to-eye. For some reason, he seems to have an answer to just about everything. When we come to a teaching that he explains in a way I have never heard of before, it makes it a little hard to abandon what I have always believed and I want clear evidence of him being right and me being w----. He does his best to show me what is clear in his understanding but sometimes I either have trouble seeing it or maybe I am too stubborn to admit that I may be w----. As you can see, the "w" word is not easy for me to use - probably because God made me too humble.

I am at a point where I need to spend time in the Bible, just reading - especially the New Testament, again. I pretty much know what I have believed and I have a basic understanding of what the issues are that I may have w----. Now, I want to basically start from scratch and let scripture speak for itself. With an open mind and heart, the Word will open and I believe that I will be able to see it clearly. Wherever I am... slightly "off", I want to get completely "on". Where I find that scripture supports what I have believed, I will be secure in my understanding. When the process is well along, I believe that God will fit the pieces together so that I can understand His truth.

There is another aspect of this equation. It is the area of relationship. When my relationship with God is not what it should be, I cannot expect Him to open His Word to me. That would make a long study, fruitless and frustrating. Sometimes I find myself resting in an old relationship. I recognize that my communion with God is stale or almost non-existent. I somehow seem to believe that a close relationship from a prior time is sufficient for now. When I do an honest evaluation, I find myself severely lacking and falling far short of where I should be and want to dwell.

I did an earlier post on being easily distracted. That not only applied to my work but also to my spiritual relationship with God. Presently, the task set before me seems daunting - overwhelming and getting started and knowing where to start has been difficult - so I have let myself be distracted and continue to put it off.

I just read a post on Anne's blog and a response from Jenae. They, without knowing it, have encouraged me to act. First by being honest here. They shared about the importance of keeping our relationship fresh and how to do that. Jenae ended her response with this statement, "...its about our hearts being soft and aware to whatever in our lives is offending the Holy Spirit. Because if I keep overlooking the little things that He's speaking to me, before long it will be a big thing and before long I can't hear Him at all... and that puts a holy trembling fear in me!"

That is exactly what I have let slip away. The little things mount and as she said, turn into big things. It seems that I have grown numb to the "holy trembling fear" and no longer feel that. Upon realizing that, that puts a different fear in me! Anne wrote about confession, well here was mine.

Now I ask for your prayers that as I go before God, He will be gracious and hear my voice. It is time to get back on track and re-establish what I have missed for some time. When I stop making excuses, the how to and where to start are really pretty basic - on my knees.


  1. Our God is not made out of putty, such that each of us might form Him as we would prefer Him to be. Instead, He is what He is, and it is our responsibility to know Him rightly. Thankfully, He has not left the truth about Him hidden, but has revealed Himself in the Bible. So often people turn to their experiences, their personal reasonings or feelings to form their idea of God, instead of going to the Bible first. It is not that they never turn to the Bible; it is, rather, that they only turn there after they have already determined for themselves what God must be like, and then they find their version of god in the pages of the True God's book about Himself. We must go to His Word with humble hearts and minds, to receive whatever it is that is there about Him... and about us... and then allow that Word to form our view of truth. We will be successful in this only as we are helped by God's Spirit, are walking in obedience to what we learn, and work diligently to always be learning more.

    May God help each of us in this pursuit! Thank you, Dad, for this reminder.

  2. I appreciate this post so much. Right now, Mark's out of town and Ben's asleep and I know in my heart this is one of the rare occasions I can get into the Word without a single distraction. I thought about it all day, "tonight I will really study the Word" but, I get distracted (purposely, even) by anyhting and everything...hence my being on here right now. That is the result of too long not prioritizing my relationship with Christ. I rest on the assurance and stability of my salvation, but sometimes in the wrong way. I want my love for Christ to be so intense that it results in an insatiable desire to learn of Him and spend time with Him. It feels strange to ask God to help me love Him more, but that's what I need to do. I'm with you in this struggle and will pray for you...do the same for me!

  3. I have been able to shift my sleep habits a little earlier and have been getting up around 6:00 AM. Each of the last few mornings I have had time reading in the Bible and enjoying it. This has not only been encouraging to me but I write it to encourage you, too.