In the first part of this article, we identified that the Bible indicates that there is something (a “veil”) that obscures knowledge to those who have set themselves against God. Part of that insight (which is missing in the preceding case) is that accepting God’s framework for the universe, including our purpose and relationship with Him, allows more of the world to make sense.
However, the other advantage for someone who has yielded control of their lives to Jesus, and seeks to obey Him, is the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised to send this Holy Spirit after He left (see John 14:16-17). Other verses indicate that the Holy Spirit still directs followers of Jesus.
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
Romans 8:5-6 NLT
Based on the Holy Spirit’s presence, and 2 Corinthians 3:16 (see yesterday’s article), it seems that the Holy Spirit may be helping us not only to make moral, righteous decisions, but also to understand even more about the reality around us (both seen and unseen). Consider how many Christians have testified to the insight that they receive in reading (and re-reading passages) from the Bible, learning new lessons that apply to what they are actively going through. The Holy Spirit provides a special advantage to the follower of Jesus, and – for those who have chosen to hear Him – we would do well to not ignore His direction, but rather to sharpen our listening skills and make time to hear more truth.
So, what do we learn from this?
- Whether or not you have chosen to follow Jesus, if you find yourself in a conversation with someone in the other group, understand – and be considerate of – the fact that the other person does not have the same context as you. Too many angry arguments take place from those who aren’t listening to others with a heart that tries to see where they are coming from. This level of understanding – across different points of view – takes time, compassion, and humility. It is no wonder that we sometimes (or, in my case, way too often) take the quick – and often useless – path of spouting off trite sayings or making declarations in our own terms, regardless of whether or not the other person can even understand them in the same way that we mean.
- There is more than enough information available to those who have not yet decided to follow Jesus, in order for them to understand their choice: to ally themselves with Him, or to continue in rebellion. (See Romans 1:20.) However, despite our best efforts, there is knowledge and wisdom that cannot be fully obtained until accepting Jesus.
I realize that this last point may sound arrogant to those who have not experienced it, but many can testify to its truth. It is not my intention to suggest that followers of Jesus are any “better” than others (after all, the very act of accepting Jesus’ teachings is to say that we are unable to save ourselves); only that they have – in a practical way – access to resources to understand certain truths.
If, after reading this, you remain skeptical, I appreciate that, and can understand why you would feel that way. The good news is that you don’t have to take my word for it: God offers the opportunity for each person to test this offer, and to make his or her own decision about the results.