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Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

Every time I prepare a sermon I learn something new. I
give a lot of credit to the time in which we live wherein so many resources
are now available to pastors
in a format that is easily accessible. I can
type in a Bible passage in my computer software and instantly have access to
dozens of Bible commentaries and other research material opened to the very spot
that addresses that particular passage.

Sometimes certain insights stand out, however, and I
can’t really credit my Bible software alone
. There is a coming together of research
and of reading through the context surrounding the passage that gets joined
with a certain sense of inspiration which I believe to be the Holy Spirit.

When we are under the influence of the message of Christ,
the Spirit of that message comes into our lives
. The Bible tells us that this
Spirit is himself a personal reality
. Jesus said he, the Spirit, would lead
us and guide us into all truth, and John says he will be our true teacher (1
John 2:27).

The longer I am under the message of Christ, the more I
experience this sense of being led by the Spirit.
I’m not claiming
infallibility or anything like it, but I am saying that the more we are
under the influence of Christ the greater our insights will be into the Bible
.
We will be led not just by mere human intellect and effort but by the very
Spirit who inspired the biblical authors in the first place.

It’s amazing to me that I often see connections and ideas
in a passage that were once hidden to me but are now being made known as I’ve
grown in my relationship with Christ
. Once I see them, they seem so
obvious. I’m not talking about hidden symbols or secrets in the Bible or
anything like that. I’m talking about what is the plain sense, intended meaning
of a passage that I’ve often simply missed before, but now I’ve come to
understand it.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul said that these
things are spiritually discerned
(1 Corinthians 2:14), which means to me
that they’re known by the experience of God in our lives
. Lent, of course,
is about being renewed in our spiritual practices, about being renewed in our
commitment to go to the places Christ has promised to be found.

Lent is also a reminder that the spiritual life is a
lifelong journey
. We never arrive at the full knowledge of Christ.
Paul wrote, “I want to know him” (Philippians 3:10). There are always new
insights to be uncovered
, deeper understandings of who God is and who he is
calling us to be.

I pray that as you make your Lenten journey you would
be renewed in your desire to know Christ
. I also pray that you’d be
given insights into him and his purpose for your life that you have never seen
before
.

As the pilgrims left on the Mayflower for the new world
their pastor who stayed behind said, “I am verily persuaded the Lord hath more
truth yet to break forth out of His Holy Word
”. Certainly, this true for us
today. May we be in the place to receive it!

Wishing you God’s very best for this Lenten season!

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