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Wisdom and knowledge are of temporal value if we do not know God. Every day challenges require choices. The prophet Micah tells us in verse 6:8, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.” A simple statement, God has given us what we need to know and now the responsibility is up to each person to discover that knowledge and decide is it the Truth? A clear theme in the Bible is that discernment, knowing what to do next in each set of circumstances, requires a clear understanding of God’s Truth. To find this discernment takes a combination of three things:

  1. A belief in and an understanding of God’s Word and His commands.
  2. The faith that God, His Son, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are real.
  3. An ability to observe the knowledge documented in our Bible at work in our world using Common Sense.

(Jeremiah 9:23-24) 1 – “This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”

Because all things logical and scientific begin with the concept of observation, to become wise and to know God, requires us to know the difference between observing and just looking. Much of life is spent looking, without the intent of our minds ever using what we see again. But when we observe, our minds extract a greater meaning out of what we see and convert it into what we might call our beliefs.

The conversion process requires skills. A few tips on being a good observer might look like this:

  1. Alertness – Quick to notice and process information, mental fitness. Life requires that we pay attention.
  2. Being Present – Secondhand information is always be colored by the bias of someone else’s eyes and beliefs. To observe requires personal engagement.
  3. To filter – Our world is filled with distractions, misrepresentations, even downright lies. To be a good filter, one must be willing to search for Truth.
  4. Double Checking – In our times of biased media, social and otherwise, there is the added responsibility to double and triple check everything. Even the interpretation of God’s Word can be perverted.
  5. God’s Truth – The ability of knowing good and bad, relevant, and irrelevant. Most have an intrinsic knowledge of right and wrong, but few really use that knowledge as a comparative tool.
  6. Common Sense – The use of knowledge and the observation of the world to decide what to do requires reason combined with revelation (the Holy Spirit). God placed a great Counselor in our world to help and guide us.

When an observation is either flawed because we did not follow good practices or avoided because of laziness, we make mistakes, use poor judgment, and our conclusions can be wrong. Here are some examples that show how our world has drawn erroneous conclusions:

  • Christians are asked to be obedient in faith to Christ and the Cross in a world that surrounds them with idols, demons, fetishes, and superstition. How have so many people for so many generations managed to remain loyal to their faith in our world with so many distractions? Our world even calls out to reprogram its faithful people. Is it really the faithful who are wrong and dangerous? How did that conclusion ever develop?
  • History gives us an undisputed view of the witness of Christ’s presence through the stories of the martyrs who chose death rather than to give the leaders of this world their oath. Where does such spiritual power come? Are martyrs mad? Are they fools? Are only the power-driven oppressors of the world correct?
  • We have a presence in our world of a love for the abandoned, despised, unborn, and betrayed human beings. Missionaries, prison ministries, shelters, food banks, all open their hearts to those in need. What drives this generosity and compassion? The survival of the fittest, our world’s motto it seems, surely is not the source of charity. Is government charged with providing charity or should it come from our own hearts?
  • Finally, observations show an enslaved creation, a general sadness as we live in a godless world. There is war, slavery of every kind and diminishing human rights all pointing to the plight of our world today. What can free the earth of this destructive behavior? Governments seek to control the delivery of happiness but how is it that humankind can ever find the real prize, joy? Is not the prize eternal joy?

King David of the Old Testament writes:

(Psalm 19:1-30) – The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.

It is up to us to learn how to be better observers. Nature is just one of the ways in which God has revealed Himself to humanity. King David observes that God is EVERYWHERE! What exactly does nature, the universe around us, tell us about God? Can we find evidence of God’s existence from looking at the world in which we live? This would be called “Natural Theology.” The Truth is that only God Himself could give us knowledge of His own being. The Bible makes it clear that God’s revelation of Himself in nature is not sufficient knowledge for sinful humanity to ever know Him. Nature only provides basic truths to humanity but falls far short of giving any absolute truth. Nature tells us that there is a God who is majestic and powerful but nothing more. It is the Bible alone that tells human beings how to see God not only in nature, but everywhere else.

For me personally, the idea of nature unveiling God takes me back to Jimmie R’s home in Ohio. I was just a young teenager and Jimmie and I had decided to camp out in his back yard. He lived just down the street from me, and we were good friends. I still can walk you to the exact place where we camped out that night. With simple cardboard to insulate us from the cold ground, Jimmie and I laid down to spend the night. There were no lights, so the very significance of the universe was open before my eyes that evening. It would be that very moment, that very place, that I would understand my “insignificance” to the universe around me. I think it was that very moment of humility that I recognized a God existed. For that moment in my life, I am eternally grateful.

Faith is required to understand Scriptures. The Bible’s many stories, laws and commandments must be overlaid onto life, our personal experiences and then validated by our own observations. Here is where the responsibility of unbiased observations comes together with God’s Word to form our conclusions and then actions. God says He showed us the Truth! Are we acting like we found it?

The process of observation and faithfulness must always be rational and consistent. When our personal observations do not align with the Bible or the faith we claim, then it is time to do some more observing. Our world is busy telling God what sin is. God has already told the world what sin is. Our world is demeaning life, worshiping wealth, idolizing power, prioritizing self-interests, and removing personal freedoms. God has already told us to follow Him. “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.”

Common Sense says that any person who claims Christ as a personal savior should not be a professional thief or murderer. Common Sense says a person who claims Christ as their personal savior should not even condone thievery or murder of any kind. God says there must not be any inconsistency between Himself, one’s observations, and their Faith. That is called Common Sense. God’s Truth does not have inconsistencies.

Contemplations

  • Is it really OK to vote for someone who supports abortion?
    • Ideas to Explore:  What do you think God’s position would be on the termination of a life in the womb? When does life exist and what does our Bible say about it?
  • Can humankind really tell God what is sinful?
    • Ideas to Explore: Where does humankind attempt to tell the world what is right and what is wrong? Is there any way people can justify behavior contrary to God’s directive? How do we determine what is sinful?
  • What are the ways we  unknowingly support ungodly behavior?
    • Ideas to Explore: Do we pick leaders who make us feel good, say the right things or do we align ourselves with leaders that direct our behavior toward God? Are we happy with the leaders we support? If not, why? What are the ungodly actions that through common sense, we have determined and validated?
  • How good are you at seeing the true motives of people around us?
    • Ideas to Explore: Do we pay attention and see the motives of those around us? Are their actions consistent with God’s Word? Would Jesus approve of our support?
  • Are you willing to set yourself apart from the world and support Christ?
    • Ideas to Explore: Faith is only faith when under the challenges of the world. Can you stand against the world and set yourself aside from those who just want to be part of the norm? What motivates you – Success in this world or the idea of eternal joy with God?

Note: You may also be interested in a companion study on Common Sense and its dependency on being a good observer. You can find it by clicking Here.

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
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