Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mom's Commentary - Genesis 1:1a (Part 2)

Genesis 1:1a In the beginning

[In Part 1, the last questions revolved around what God was beginning to do in us as individuals. What new works has He begun? What new songs might He have given us might be another good question to explore in that entry someday.......?

Now let's consider the same questions about 'us' as one body.]

What is God up to now? What is God doing universally (not politically or in the cosmos so much - but what is going on in the 'our/us' mentioned in the Lord's prayer)? What is God doing in 'our' life as one body (Romans 12:15)?

Do we need any new beginnings with Him as a body?

If so, in what does God want 'us' to begin to grow next?

For one thing, 'we' certainly do need to purpose to grow in unity!

Till we all come in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Ephesians 4:13

In order to grow in unity, we all need to grow in faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God. Certainly we can grow in the knowledge of the Son of God. Can we grow in faith?

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the love of everyone of you all toward each other aboundeth. II Thess. 1:3

So do unity, faith, the knowledge of the Son of God, and love all grow and mature together? In searching for answers directly from the scripture to answer that question, it seems that the Bible does directly relate faith and 'hearing the word of God' - as per the writings of the apostle Paul.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 (see also Galatians 3:2)

Is hearing the word of God all there is to it, then? No!

Hearing the word of God and receiving faith by hearing is only 'a beginning'!

According to II Peter 1:3-9:

--We have been given promises which have produced the beginnings of faith (Hallelujah!)(faith - fido.....a rope or cable which makes fast - draws...... 'to believe, to obey')

--that we might partake in the divine nature! (Amazing! - what an opportunity! - the definition of divine that would pertain to our 'partaking in the divine nature' would seem mostly to be: proceeding from God, as in divine sayings or works, apparently above that which is human! - Does it not seem, then that we should be, in our new nature in Him, something above the human nature - via the nature He wants to share with us - knowing this, that the 'above human nature' all comes from Him, not us!)

--we are to give all diligence (constant effort to accomplish without unnecessary delay or sloth!)

--add virtue to our faith (faith is a gift, it enables us to add virtue - and what a definition! 'strength from straining, stretching, extending'....etc. - - faith empowers us to strain, stretch, and extend beyond ourselves, particularly to be in keeping with God's desires, which produces strength, aka virtue! What a hope and power there is in His Word! But some strain, stretch, and extend themselves for their own purposes, such as those who have fasted for vain reasons. God's reasons for fasting include more than being sensitive to His spirit in intellectual worship, or even open to direction about 'change' in one's heart. God's reasons include giving the bread not eaten to those who are oppressed and poor, along with releasing the bands of wickedness not only in our lives, but through prayer and fasting, God releases bands around us, etc. Isaiah 58:1-8)

--then add knowledge to that (more knowledge than what produced the initial faith.... 'a clear and certain perception of that which exists, or of truth and fact, the perception of the connection and agreement or disagreement and repugnancy of our ideas!)

--then add temperance (We may satisfy our appetites if we have the means, but not indulge them, as indulging them increases them yet never satisfies them - increasing them over and over again, which dulls our spiritual appetites. How much do we really need in order to satisfy healthy appetites pertaining to our physical selves? That differs from person to person. We each need to learn to listen to our appetites to take note when we are actually satisfied, as they are able to inform us as to how much we need in order to be 'satisfied' with regards to sleep, activity levels, diet, etc.... (Here is an example: What we eat can be an uncomfortable topic: but it is an important one. Health issues can impact weight gain, that is a different issue altogether. If one actually struggles with listening to his/her own appetite to learn to recognize when they are satisfied, there are ways to learn how to listen more attentively. One way is to calculate the approximate caloric need for a given person using a scientific equation that is fairly accurate. That would provide a starting place. One could use that as a ballpark figure, then increase or decrease food intake to the appropriate amount of food in order to either gain, lose, or maintain weight as decided in prayer and praise. Next, notice when requirements change due to change in activity levels, physical cycles, age, health, etc. In working this way, many have learned to watch for subtle indicators that help to signal 'satisfied' to the brain.) This does not require austerity and long faces. Even fasting is not to be accomplished with long faces. (Matt. 6:16) So no groaning allowed! Replacing the groaning with praise for what we do have (which might focus on non-food items) would help to increase spiritual sensitivity, and decrease an appetite on overdrive. Developing healthy appetites in non-food interests helps as well. Diligence and strength-of-will (or virtue) is often required when changing the appetites and drives from 'overdrive' or even 'underdrive' to 'normal-healthy' levels. Again, no long faces! Satisfying our fleshly appetites may be done joyously, with thanksgiving to God, and with love towards those with whom we have opportunity to fellowship, in order to help meet their needs with love and joy as well. It is important to note that no more attention should be given to our appetites than that. For example, as Charlotte Mason, an incredible English educator from a century or so ago, said in her book Ourselves (written to inform students regarding basics of applying good character), "while you are eating, talk and think of something more amusing than your food," and "Never think of your meals till they come" (save for the cook who should think how to prepare, not how to eat what is being prepared; and we should also take time to thank God for the food He does provide). [Volume 4, pg. 14 of the Original Homeschooling Series (highly recommended reading!)] But enough on temperance for now!

--and thereby be enabled to add patience (...endurance without murmuring.... submission to the divine will..... constancy in labor.... bearing offenses without anger.... Each of these goals is more attainable when we are not expecting to fulfill lusts of the flesh, but merely meet our fleslhy needs with thanksgiving when we are able to do so, and being thankful for what we do have even when we are unable to fulfill our fleshly needs. Patience is also more accessible when we recognize that we need to give up ownership of everything we have, even our reputation. As Bill Gothard puts it, our reputation doesn't matter, and God is big enough to deal with His own reputation. (paraphrased version of Gothard's take on the subject)).

--which results in increasing ability to develop godliness (...reverence for the divine character...obedience. To be Christ-like - which includes bringing glory to God, obedience in all things; sacrificial love, even to the point of death if need be - for the benefit of others).

--leading then to brotherly kindness (affection, kindness...syn. tender.....) To be kind, we actually invest our time, energy, and/or our resources in others' lives... 'where your treasure is, there will your heart be also' Matthew 6:21. As Bill Gothard shares in his videos, if we are kind to others, it develops a real love in us towards them, because we have invested treasure into their lives.)

--resulting ultimately in love (.....devoted, .....strong attachment to.....)

Would this not then result in unity within the body, with the 'we' who love Him and serve him?


Okay, with the verses and definitions that was a bit choppy. So what would be a paraphrase of II Peter 1:3-9? How about this?

Due to God's gift of faith which binds us to Him and draws us after Him, we are able to give constant attention to exerting our will towards strength/virtue in the realms of moral excellence, helping us to have more knowledge about God, ourselves, others, and proper stewardship of those things which we have use of to serve Him - being humbled before Him by the strength of our various fleshly desires, we can trust him to provide us yet more virtue/strength to be patient in well doing and patient with others, producing godliness, inspiring brotherly kindness wherewith we invest treasure into their lives, producing in our own selves, love for the brethren.

Which produces unity.

So, does faith, knowledge of the Son of God, love, and unity increase and grow together?

When the faith is from God, yes, it must.

Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.... that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. Philippians 1:27


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