Saturday, September 15, 2007

In the Beginning

“I am a good person.” Most of us believe this statement as we measure ourselves against the world, for when we measure ourselves against what we read in the papers or see on the screen – big or small – we are good people. We grade ourselves on a sliding scale, and frankly, most of us measure up pretty well. We were raised with a set of values, and we carried those values into our schools, work and perhaps our marriages. We work to provide for our families, raise our children with the same values we hold dear, and help others who are struggling to do the same. We may regularly attend a church of our choice and closely follow the theology of our religion. Yet intimately, we know the constant struggle to maintain our goodness.

We curse the driver who cut us off on the way to work. Pent up stress from our workday will unload on our spouse or children in a verbal tirade. Internet surfing or late lunches steal precious time from our employer. Procrastination and the care of our material possessions steal our time. Envy rises when our neighbor has installed a pool, and jealously rises when someone pays too much attention to our spouse. There are family members we only tolerate because of a past hurt, and our ‘white’ lies stack up like building blocks around our souls. Comparatively, we are good people, but we are not the person God created.

Sometime ago, I volunteered to lead a Bible Study for a small group of women. They were a diverse group with empty nesters, young adults, established and new Christians, along with unbelievers. The Bible study followed national events that had turned our security into horror, our trust into fear and our love into questioning. In addition, my inner life paralleled the nation with turmoil, misunderstanding and long buried pain. After prayerful consideration, I chose spiritual warfare as my topic.

I wanted to better understand the existence of evil, how it works, how it affects each of us and more importantly, how can we combat the evil we see around us each day. I questioned why God gave us a free will knowing that we would use that will to turn away from him. I examined the disparity between living under the laws of God and living under his grace. I was confused by the letdown felt by new Christians after the first joyous flush of salvation had mysteriously left them. I could not understand the difference between judgment and discernment or the conflict between forgiveness and self-protection. Although I had witnessed the power of prayer in my life, I wanted to move beyond the ‘genie in the bottle’ type of prayer, and finally, why did God place so much emphasis on praise and worship?

There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom for knowledge can be learned, but wisdom must be earned. Although I had chosen the topic for my Bible study, God had imparted the knowledge and the wisdom. Each week as I studied the scriptures in preparation for my class he revealed to me meanings that I had not before perceived. God also brought me through experiences during that time, and since, that only clarified and confirmed what he was trying to show me.

So again I say the knowledge and the wisdom belong to God and so does the title; for they are God’s Weapons of Mass Construction.