The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of The Georgia Virtue.
By: Dr. William F. Holland Jr., minister, chaplain, and author of the column series ‘Living on Purpose’. You can read more about the Christian life and see other works by Dr. Holland at billyhollandministries.com
The Christian life is difficult to understand. Generally speaking, the masses are satisfied with receiving a spiritual fish instead of becoming a fisherman as refusing to learn what God requires becomes an easy way to avoid responsibility. The motto of the default system is, “The less we know – the less we worry about.” The opportunity to walk with God is given to everyone but the development of our potential is rare to say the least. Understanding spiritual wisdom can be attained for those who apply themselves to diligent study, meditation, and prayer, but I struggle like everyone else and often fail. It’s not that we have an inability to learn about God, but we have a serious lack of interest.
When I released my first book a few years ago, it was about worship, spiritual intimacy with God, and living in the awareness of His presence. I have lots of family and friends who love to read huge novels, so I thought they would enjoy it. Well, let’s just say the reception was not what I had envisioned. I realize there is quite a difference between reading something entertaining and a book about how God wants to transform us into His image. I concluded the lack of enthusiasm had everything to do with the subject matter. Can you imagine the response if I wrote a book called, “How to make a million dollars in 7 days?” I agree we are all different in our tastes and attractions but only excited about what is important to us. Nonetheless, the Lord’s words are eternal and the true purpose and meaning of life.
Many have heard this simple yet provoking invitation found in Matthew chapter 7 and verse 7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: Those who ask will receive, and the one that seeks shall find, and to those who knock it shall be opened.” This promise sounds like God is giving us a signed blank check for whatever we can dream about, but it’s actually a spiritual blueprint for us to know Him and discover His desires which is what He dreams about. The conditions to researching God’s word have much to do with context and not only selecting verses that appeal to us. If we only see this passage as a way to receive earthly and natural blessings we are only scratching the surface and have actually missed the point. However, if we are seeking the Lord’s spiritual mysteries, we have found a key of revelation wisdom that can open a glorious opportunity to know God and be as close to Him as we choose. Using the above passage creates a larger context of our responsibility when we include, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” Matthew 5:6, and “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” Matthew 6:33. The motives and intentions of our hearts are always in question concerning what are we seeking and why.
What if the average person spent as much time and effort learning how to be filled with God’s truth as they do following their own desires? When it comes to spiritual comprehension and obedience, there is a wall of invisible resistance that surrounds us constantly. We have a spiritual enemy and we also struggle against our own human nature, but what are these two forces trying to prevent us from knowing? In Proverbs 29:18 the writer mentions a vision, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.” This vision must be very important since not having it causes death but what is it? The NIV puts it this way: “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” The same Hebrew word vision is used in other passages within the context of divine communication from God speaking through His holy word. And so we understand this particular enlightenment refers to God’s revelatory truth. This vision is spiritual and can only be seen and comprehended by those who have been redeemed and who seek God diligently. Most people agree that God’s ways are the best way to live, but how many are passionate about knowing and loving God just for who He is instead of only wanting what He can give?