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Dear Partner,

This month I would like to continue our discussion of becoming mature believers who are able to "eat and digest" the meat of the Word of God. Our goal is to become of "full age," able to properly nourish our spirits with "strong meat."

Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The last portion of that verse speaks of "permanent change," which is our ultimate goal. Again, we feed babies milk because their digestive system is not yet developed to be able to digest adult food for themselves. Spiritually, the Word of God is our food and the Holy Spirit could be compared to our digestive system. It is the "Spirit of Truth" who has been sent to guide us into all truth. Are there things we can do, on purpose, to develop a better "Teacher To Student" relationship with the Holy Spirit in order that He can more effectively teach us the truth that sets us free? Most assuredly!

One of the primary ways we can assist the Holy Spirit in His role as Teacher is to learn the first principle of meditating the Word of God. That principle is:

NEVER TAKE A VERSE OF SCRIPTURE OUT OF ITS CONTEXT!

Let me give you a simple illustration of the principle using the analogy of eating natural food to nourish our physical bodies. Picture in your mind that for the first time in your life you have sit down to eat a wonderful steak dinner. On your plate is a T-bone steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a generous portion of green peas. Remember, in this example, you have never eaten a steak dinner before. For some unknown reason, however, instead of eating everything on your plate, you choose to eat only the green peas. You never taste the steak nor the mashed potatoes.

After you have finished, a friend comes up and asks you, "What is a steak dinner like?" You answer, "Well, I was a little disappointed. There wasn't much variety in taste nor texture. Come to find out, T-bone steaks and mashed potatoes taste just like green peas." Is that the truth? No! Because you lifted the green peas out of the overall context of the steak dinner, your understanding of what a steak dinner tastes like is wrong. You don't know the truth!

Worse than that, if you made a practice of only eating green peas every day of your life, your physical body would soon begin to suffer. Would it be because there was something wrong with the green peas? No, they are part of a nutritious diet, but they do not contain all of the protein, vitamins and minerals your body needs to remain healthy. You need to eat the green peas IN THE OVERALL CONTEXT of the entire steak dinner not only to understand what a steak dinner really is but to also properly nourish your body! YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM CANNOT FEED YOUR BODY WITH NUTRIENTS THAT YOU CHOOSE NOT TO EAT!

It is exactly the same way with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. It is very hard for the Holy Spirit to teach you the TRUTH of the Word of God if you choose to only meditate the "difficult verses" without leaving them in their overall setting. Those difficult verses are part of the "whole meal." To continue focusing on just those isolated verses without leaving them in the larger context will give you an inaccurate understanding of the TRUTH of God's Word.

Whenever you come to some difficult verses that you do not understand, ask the Holy Spirit to help you back up to find where this subject matter began, and to help you go forward to find where this subject matter ends. Then READ THE WHOLE PASSAGE over and again, maybe as many as fifty times to make sure you have eaten "the entire meal." You have now equipped your spirit with the raw materials the Holy Spirit needs to nourish your spirit with the entire TRUTH. When your understanding of the difficult passage blossoms, it will be accurate and in context with the larger picture. This is a great safeguard against deception. EXAMPLE: Here is a verse that is often quoted in church services at offering time,

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

The end result of the common teaching is, "When the offering plate is passed during a church service, if you give largely into the offering, God will see to it that men will give back finances unto you good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over." Although it is "a" truth that God rewards faithful people who give into the work of the kingdom, that is NOT what Jesus was talking about in this passage of scripture. I challenge you to "eat the whole meal" by backing up to Luke 6:27 and reading all the way to Luke 6:49 over and over perhaps as many as fifty times. You will soon discover several things:

  1. Jesus is not discussing behavior in a church service at all.
  2. He is not talking about giving offerings into the kingdom.

Rather, Jesus is talking about how we are to relate with the sinners of this world to increase our chances of winning them to the truth of the gospel. This passage has everything to do with the true motivations of the heart. It has nothing to do with any sort of legalistic giving into church offerings. The promise in Luke 6:38 is not for legalistic givers into church offerings, but for those who are willing to "lay down their lives" [give up their rights] in order to win sinners for Christ! QUITE A DIFFERENCE!

There are treasures without measure to be discovered in the Word of God. The Holy Spirit has been expressly sent to help you discover each and every one for yourself. Learn to dine properly from the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit will digest and process the TRUTH throughout your entire being. "Permanent Change" will be the result.

Thank you for your gift to GCM. Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter

 

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