Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why the Answer Key is Wrong (with audio)


…let us run with patience the race that is set before us
(Hebrews 12:1)

One of the effects of the fall of man into sin is a manifest lack of patience. This has played itself out in every life ever lived since Adam and Eve. We want what we want, and we want it now. The secular media, advertising agencies, marketers, magazines, moviemakers, and just about everybody is guilty of making this the dominant trend in our thinking. The voices are endless. “Time is wasting, what are you waiting for?” “We have got what you’re looking for.” “No need to struggle, we’ve got the solution!” We are all willing victims. No one, it seems, is innocent or invulnerable to the onslaught of “now”.

This helps to explain the explosion of the get rich quick schemes, the lottery, the parade of late night infomercials, and so forth. It also helps explain the lure of cheating in the classroom, the bedroom, the boardroom, and the ball field. It has lead to the proliferation of self-help books, wellness seminars, and New Age mysticism. People are willing to try anything, as long as it’s not the same old, tried and true method of working hard. Everybody is looking for a quick fix, or at least the way to get what we want with the least amount of effort. Our attention spans have been so manipulated that they won’t let us take the time to really learn anything.

The Christian is just as vulnerable to this lack of patience, even when trying to learn about God and His ways. Having to listen to a sermon over twenty minutes, or having to pray for more than fifteen would probably put most of us into a deep sleep these days. An example that might hit closer to home with believers is the tendency to want to have the answers without having to struggle with the questions. That is why we see so much of the “7 principles of power”, or “10 steps to success”, or “5 keys to kingdom living”, etc., etc. Having the answers alone without knowing how to figure out the questions is not all it is cracked up to be, however. Consider the following thoughts.

If I told you that the earth was 93 million miles away from the sun, you would have the information you needed to answer that question, “how far is the earth from the sun?” You could then use this information in a social situation, or a classroom situation, or whatever, or whenever the topic arose. However, if someone were to proceed to ask you, “How do you know this?” do you think they would be satisfied to hear you answer, “well, so and so told me”, or “I read it in a book?” No, they wouldn’t, or even if they were, this knowledge only gets you so far. However, if you knew how to figure out for yourself the distance, you could use this knowledge to figure out the distance from the earth of other planets, and this knowledge could help you to find out other things as well.

In the Christian this idea helps us understand why we must struggle with sin, rather than just expect the desire to be taken away. We want the “thing” to just go away, but it doesn’t. Surely, some Christians have been given a special mercy by God to have an instant moment of sanctifying grace where they no longer desire to do that “thing”, but this is not the normal occurrence. Too often we see those whom have had a crisis experience where they were instantly delivered of this or that vice try and teach others that all they have to do is believe and they will also be delivered. Let go and let God, they might say. When it doesn’t work, the defeated Christian is thrown back into a state of disbelief, either in his faith or his God. This need not and should not be. There is a reason we don’t get the “answer” right away. God wants us to struggle with the questions first.

You see if we were to have our answer before we understood the problem, all we would do is have a surface solution. When the real, root problem surfaces again in some other form, if all we have done is rely on the answer key, all we can do is attack the problem on the surface again, and it will pop up again and again until we lay the axe to the root. Having to struggle with the questions will inculcate the discipline we need in life to be able to survive the other struggles we may and we will face. “Inculcate” means to instill: did you look it up? Would you have if you didn’t know it? Will it become part of your vocabulary?

It is not the answer key itself that is wrong, but having the answer without understanding the problem is what is wrong. This is why cheating on a test only cheats you out of greater knowledge. You may get the answer right this time, but when the next time comes and you need the prior knowledge to find out the answer, you are going to be in trouble. It is like having the answer to a calculus problem, versus being able to understand calculus itself. See the tremendous difference?

There is no “secret” of spirituality or “formula” for faith. There is a plan, and it involves staying the course, walking the narrow path. We depend on Jesus for our life, and our Father for our daily bread. The Holy Spirit will lead us into a more passionate relationship with God if we will only take the time to struggle with the questions. Then we may learn lessons that will enable us to overcome our problems at the root level. It’s the difference between a brief and a broad victory.

Start a fire, and be warm for a day.

Stay on fire, and be warm for life.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Even So... said...

This is taken from a previous post from 4-06, which was reposted 6-26-07, but now includes the audio, which has additional material in it...we will be doing this with many of our older posts, so that they can have the audio attached to them...hope these are edifying and enjoyable for you...God bless...

Unknown said...

93 million miles, thats a lot of rooting...

Milton Stanley said...

Amen. Good word.

Even So... said...

Thanks as always, brother...