Pure objectivity in growing is practically impossible, even for the deeply converted Christian. All that is spoken, written, or thought is passed through the prism and filter of personal experience, shaped within a fallen world, inherited from one generation to another, and ruled by an invisible entity. All is shaded, colored, distorted and interpreted by this totality of personal experience. This leaves one great and overwhelming truth: what is spoken, written or thought by God is the only true reality and measure.
We cannot apply what He says to ourselves or others in complete truthfulness - because we do not really know. As the Apostle Paul said, truly we only see "through a glass darkly". And also truly, we "know in part and prophesy in part". We are not whole, and we do and cannot know "the whole". There are realities that can serve us at times, when they enable us to identify with others in their trials, troubles, sorrows, or confusion. We can serve them and encourage - because we "have been there". We can help because we also know as they know. We can then grow together.
But Christ will do all that He does perfectly, with perfect objectivity, and apply all that He is to all that is us, because He knows us perfectly. We are incapable of perfect application, or of overlaying God to others perfectly - we are just not capable of God's objectivity. All must be of God, from God, by God, and not of man. Thus, it is very difficult to properly apply the Scriptures - the Words of God - to ourselves or others, of ourselves, from ourselves, by ourselves. This is where the Holy Spirit comes to our aid to help us. But He helps and aids us only according to who we are and where we are, and who we have thus far become.
Jesus has two cardinal requirements of all of us: endure and overcome (conquer). (Matthew 10:22).
While we are enduring, we will be in the process of conquering. If we are conquering and overcoming, we are enduring. Otherwise, we are no longer enduring. The two work in tandem. They are mutually inclusive. Most of the statements in the Bible regarding enduring are relatively short and very much to the point: just endure. But to endure - it is a mighty big six-letter word. Easy to say. Sometimes, very difficult to endure. But when we do, we come to know - and we grow. Sometimes painfully slow, to know and to grow. Many times our children are admonished with “when will you ever learn!”. And then, sometime later - sometimes much later - that child hears about the next stage: “when will you ever grow up!”. We are never really knowing until we begin to know spiritually. We will never mature spiritually unless we know and grow (Matthew 5:48). The process is also contained in the instruction of our Lord. Overcome. Endure. Grow up.
Enduring is a very large and broad and diverse umbrella under which of the Christian life is lived out. Just to exist at times seems to require more of endurance than anything else. Depending upon conditions at the moment, one may seem to press upon us more than the other; that is, it is sometimes difficult to think of both at the same time. When troubles begin to mount, enduring in the faith seems somehow to be uppermost in our minds, and we let the overcoming and resultant conquering take care of themselves.
A friend of mine once remarked that he had been anticipating Christ to return any time, but had begun to realize that he was now concerned about just enduring - perhaps longer than he had expected. It appeared that he had a longer wait than he thought. It seemed that all had been reduced to the one concern. Longer to endure. Longer to learn lessons about right choices in life. More time to overcome. More time to grow. Time, age, and life had changed his perspective.
The longer we strive to live life as God would have us to, the better we comprehend God's Word regarding enduring and overcoming. With each trial we somehow get through, with each temptation eventually conquered and rendered powerless, with each obstacle that seems impossible for us to go over, around, or under, eventually through the grace of endurance we come out on the other side - scared perhaps, but stronger and encouraged that by enduring, realizing in the process we have also become more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)!
Has it occurred to us that the very last recorded words of Christ's chief Apostle spoke to these issues? Perhaps God intended them to be the summing up of all that he had taught into one verse - the great imperative of the Apostle Peter (2 Peter 3:18). For finally, the solution to what has been discussed here for all of us are contained in his last recorded words.
Then, if we obey Peter's command, eventually, some day, we will know perfectly how to help and serve others in Christ's Kingdom. We will have endured. We will have conquered. Knowing and growing will then have brought us to maturity (Hebrews 4:10-11).
May you know. May you grow. May you conquer. May you endure..."speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).
"For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded). When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood by God]. And so faith, hope, love abide [faith--conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things; hope--joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love--true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love." - 1 Corinthians 13:9-13
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