[CF Devotionals] 2011-02-10 - The Problem to the Answer

1 Cor 2:12-13 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. (NASB)

Sophisticated communication is one of the very short list of items or ideas that separates humans from the animals. Other animals use tools and do communicate with each other. Our cats will communicate with us in non-verbal ways. But they can make their desires known. "Hey, it's time for dinner! I'm hungry." Many animals are much smarter than we give them credit. Then we come to expressing very intangible things like faith. These are very simple ideas in many ways, but that simplicity is just the tip of the iceberg. Below the water line is a complex maze of thoughts and ideas that I may connect in one way and you may connect in quite another and we both still call it faith. Misunderstandings are not far away unless we are careful.

I have been known to take more than 30 minutes to compose a short email response, especially if it going two or more levels above me or to another company to a person who does not know me well. Some of my coworkers have asked aghast, "Why are you taking so long to write that?" The answer, simple and to the point is I don't want to be misunderstood. I represent myself, my group, my management, my department or my company in the presentation of what I write. Clear communication is important to send a message that is received as it was intended to be understood.

"... if you enter into a dialogue with the assumption that you are going to be misunderstood ... you're in a far healthier position than if you assume you're going to be understood. It's healthier for you because you're closer to the truth." Edelman/Crain, The Tao of Negotiation: How to Prevent, Resolve and Transcend Conflict. © 1993 Harper-Business

I was passed this clip this week from a coworker. What thought! It is the anti-thesis of what most of us believe to be reality. The fact of the matter is that communicating is easy while clear communication is hard.

When we give Jesus Christ first place in our lives we can expect to be misunderstood and criticized by those who claim to follow Him. Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete New Testament © 2007 Warren W. Wiersbe

The joy and freedom that often follows giving our lives to Christ is enough to show that "something" is going on in our lives. It in itself is a witness to those around us. It can be easily misunderstood and dismissed as well. That witness gets to be less easy to dismiss when the changes in our lives become what is normal about us and as they spread to other areas of our lives. This is the clarity of communication in consistency in this example.

There is that literally unspeakable fact in our hearts, the Holy Spirit speaking to us that has been expressed as, "I know, that I know, that I know." Beyond a shadow of a doubt we know our lives have been changed and will never be the same. How do we express it, and how well? If we do not understand any topic in any arena of thought, how can we communicate it at all, let alone clearly?

We have been given the instruction by Christ to go into the world and tell everyone the good news. We have been told to be prepared to give an answer for the things that we believe (1 Pet 3:15). The world is very often ready to scoff and dismiss anything they don't understand without much of a hearing - at times to our collective detriment. We are the ones who must make the case understandable and convincing. The Holy Spirit will plow the ground of the hearts and minds. We are to plant the seeds.

We encourage readers that these devotions not to be a substitute for Bible reading. We also encourage readers to double-check what we write, to think these things through for themselves. We feed our bodies. We also need to feed our spirit. Read the Word.

Heb 13:20-21 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (NASB)

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com