With all my talk about faith, this morning I was reminded of a post I did a while back which received some negative comments on Facebook. The offensive part seemed to be my interpretation of Mark 7:15, that it isn’t what goes into a man but what comes out of him that defiles him. From this scripture from the Word, the Spirit revealed to me that it isn’t what happens to us but how we respond to what happens that defiles us.
My premise was it isn’t our abuse that makes us who we are, but how we respond to these events that affects us. I didn’t formulate this conclusion through logic or reason; the Spirit enlightened His Words to me and I exploded with light. One negative response said that I was misappropriating the Word to say what it didn’t say. So this is where I want to address our faith and the Word.
Listen to me now, all of you, and understand this, There is nothing outside a man which can enter into him and make him ‘common’. It is the things which come out of a man that make him ‘common’!
Mark 7:15 Phillips
Men of Faith and Word
If you look at the stories of the men of faith in the Bible, each of them had to embrace God and His Word as He defined it to them. God read His Word to these men by the Spirit and told them what it said. They each looked to the Source for the interpretation, not their own minds.
There are many examples of this. Noah had to build a boat, was thought of as crazy, and had to leave humanity to drown in the waves of judgment. Unheard of, unprecedented, and counter to the ways of the world. Look at Abraham’s sacrificing his son. Child sacrifice was specifically prohibited, but Abraham followed the Spirit into this act of child sacrifice. In faith Abraham followed the Lord who defined his actions and life. How about Jesus’ message in the synagogue at Capernaum, to “eat His flesh and drink His blood”? Cannibalism was strictly prohibited in the Law, and while we have history and context, these Jews had nothing of the sort. The hearers became irate and responded out of their human reasoning. In none of these encounters with the Word could the hearer interpret the meaning based on the logic. All of them required faith to proceed with God.
The Spirit Reads His Word to Me
We must each have faith that the Spirit will teach us what His scriptures mean. He defines Truth by His Reality, not by my reason. I see it as the Lord Himself has to read His Word to me and then has to tell me what it means. This requires faith!
No, I can’t take this as a license to do whatever I want and then say it is God. We can’t twist the Word to say what is convenient according to our will. This faith doesn’t exalt the mind, reason, or logic at all. It is utterly and completely dependent. When the Spirit defines what the Word says, we learn the Ways and mind of God, and we come to know our Father. So often we try to hem God in using His own doctrine. And while the Bible is inerrant and unchanging, God cannot be held by our human interpretations of its meaning. We have to look to Him in relationship to Shepherd us, even in our reading of the Bible. This makes me so hopeful and hungry.
My Faith in THE Word
This whole foundation makes study of the Bible relational and a way to fellowship. My diving into study to break apart the nuance and meaning is like coming to know a Lover. When we are courting a spouse, we get to know them intimately. Their idiosyncrasies and uniqueness are learned through time spent in awareness. I come to know and am known—this is love. This is what it is to experience the Living Word. And my interpretation of Mark 7:15 was more akin to learning the way my fiancé’s mouth moves when she finds something funny, than holding God to the letter without the Spirit. Thank you Jesus, that You are the Word and are committed to show me Yourself as I read it.
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:13-16
As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in Him.
1 John 2:27
Love it! One of my greatest delights is when the Lord shines His light on the Word and makes it personal to me. Thank you, John for following the leading of the Spirit. I appreciate all of the Shulamites who have led me into a deeper walk with our Lord. Much love
I am so pleased we serve a relational and personal God who continually communicates with us. Love you Wanda!
I agree Tammy…this is a keeper. The transforming and profound simplicity….”I see it as the Lord Himself has to read His Word to me and then has to tell me what it means.” That is a powerful image.
Thank you John. I’m grateful for the gifts the Holy Spirit gives through you!
Thank you for your receptivity Debra! I’m very grateful for your encouragement! Bless you!
Off and on over the years a message you share gives me such unspeakable comfort that I print it and put it away for safe keeping. This is one of those messages. I read this when it posted yesterday. I asked the Lord for comment…what I received was the warmest of Love that lingers even now. You shared; “…the Lord Himself has to read His Word to me and then has to tell me what it means.” I search the scriptures, read, and then ask and listen for the meaning. But Oh my! To ask Him to read TO me.… Read more »
You overwhelm me Tammy! Thank you for sharing this. I can’t tell you how pleased I am that you’ve reacted this way. And to know that you saved it is awesome. I’d love to know which other ones make it into the safe keeping box.