Why should we bother to understand? Can’t we just believe what we’ve been told about God and His ways? What if our perception of God and His ways are flawed? We can believe things about God’s behavior, even if they do not make good sense and tend to lead us astray.
Consider this – the Eternal One has full understanding of this realm he created while we only see it as “in a mirror dimly.” (a) [see endnotes for NASB Scriptures] God created the natural universe and its life processes to function with the productive and destructive actions of good and evil.
Our life in this world includes positive and negative energies, different experiences, and varying perceptions. God is more than reasonable and to Him everything makes good sense. Wouldn’t it be in our best interest to understand the reason why things function as they do? Should we seek to understand the reason why?
God Wants Us To Acquire
Our heavenly Father thinks so! He gave a clear expression of His desire for us to understand in Scripture: “With all your acquiring, get understanding.” (b) He places great value on our understanding. “God has looked…to see if there is anyone who understands.” (c)
Many times we are told to just believe, as if we cannot or are not supposed to understand. During my teenage years I attended a meeting to hear a visiting speaker. I was familiar with the Bible and followed the speaker’s message until he said: “you don’t have to understand, just believe.”
I found myself facing a quandary, should we just believe without understanding? Why would God give us a mind that can perceive, reason, and understand if He intended us to just believe? The third time the phrase was repeated I decided I could not accept such a lame approach toward God or Scripture. Then and there I decided to seek to understand all God desires to reveal.
I began the practice of praying as I picked up the Bible; “Lord, show me what I’ve not yet seen.” I sought to understand how God and His words in Scripture are sensible. I also found many words in our Bible that do not agree with the original Hebrew and Greek. While the words and concepts of Scripture make more than good sense, our translations lend support to ideas introduced by men.
Our personal understanding supports our attitudes about God and His ways. They tend to sway where we go, what we do, how we treat each other. They even have a productive and destructive influence on our mental and physical health. So, how do we seek to perceive and see from God’s perspective, making good sense of the concepts we believe to be true?
Our personal understanding supports our attitudes about God and His ways.
Understanding and Transforming
When we ask questions or say “I don’t understand,” it is usually a request for more detail. On the other hand, when we say, “I don’t care,” we admit we are not interested in understanding. We often restrict ourselves by not considering different ideas and thoughts that stretch our current perceptions. While the depths of God and all the secrets of life are beyond the ability of anyone to fully understand, we want to remain open to the rich insights God desires to share with us.
“Oh the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (d)
“The Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes…understanding.” (e)
While our family, culture, and racial make-up dictates how and where we start this life, they are not intended to control, restrict or limit our developing and maturing process. Our beginnings are not intended to keep us captivated and determine how we act or worship.
As offspring of God and man, everyone has the ability to perceive, observe, and understand. While no one can fully understand our Creator, we can rise into maturing perceptions. Jesus encouraged us to “ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and it shall be opened to you.” (f)
God is more than willing to share helpful insight with each of us. Scripture encourages us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (g) Transformation is a process where, over time, our thoughts and understandings change. As we understand why we exist and how we are designed to function and mature, life actually becomes more meaningful and enjoyable.
God is more than willing to share helpful insight with each of us.
Scripture relates our heavenly Father’s clear desire for us to understand; “with all your acquiring, get understanding.” (h) And, “let him who boasts, boast of this, that he understands and knows Me.” (i) Everyone has a God given ability to see and understand beyond our current viewpoints. Too often we just fail to stop and seriously consider new light.
New and fresh insight can develop clarity and improve our understanding. Fresh insight however will fade away and be of no value if we don’t take time to think through the issues and allow them to engage our current perceptions and bring changes to our overall understanding. (j)
You may ask what Scripture means by “trust in the Lord…and do not lean on your own understanding.” (k) This verse speaks of thoughts and perceptions that ignore or seek to negate God’s input and disregard God’s insightful involvement. As we seek God’s influence and guidance “first and foremost,” (l) our personal understanding can transition and improve.
Jesus admonished us to allow “the Spirit of truth,” God’s presence with us, to “guide you into all the truth,” (m) into more than what we currently perceive. Are we willing to devote the time needed to seek and receive a greater understanding and make more sense of this life?
We encourage you to not be satisfied with an inactive or occasional involvement with God, our source of quality understanding. Do we energetically pursue clarifying insight? Let’s not limit ourselves with a lack of desire to seek and consider beyond what we already understand. Let’s be receptive to all that God desires to share.
Everyone has a God given ability to see and understand beyond our current viewpoints.
NASB version: a) 1 Corinthians 13:12; b) Proverbs 4:7; c) Psalms 53:2; d) Romans 11:33; e) Proverbs 2:6; f) Luke 11:9; g) Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; h) Proverbs 4:7; i) Jeremiah 9:24; j) Luke 8:11-15; k) Proverbs 3:5; l) Matthew 6:33; m) John 16:12-13