Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"to live a holy life" -- how?

Oh how i love God's Word --- but i didn't always feel that way.
I always respected it, revered it, knew it was Holy ---- but i didn't LOVE it as if it were life to me.

Having first experienced the King James Version, I tried as a child to process the deep meaning between the "thees" and "thous" --- and struggled. The Pastor would "translate" or my Sunday School teacher would bring it alive for me, but in truth, when i sat with my Bible in my little girl hands, it felt more Holy than real --- and i wanted the Jesus that cared enough to walk among us to be real to me, no language barrier allowed.
And so it began --- that as i walked for more and more days in this world ---- God grew the awareness of my intense NEED for His Word.
Hence, my love affair with many translations of the Holy Bible was born. In college I began seeking my God in my world. I began looking for more of Him in the space between sunrise and sunset; i wanted to see more of Him than what i was seeing around me. The emptiness in the facade of the lives being lived by most of the people around me --- became the pink elephant in the room. The pink elephant was not what i wanted, nor did i want to pretend life was right. I wanted life to truly be right (not just have that appearance) ---- i wanted what God said could come from His hand. Oh to ..."live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God." Colossians 1:10 
It became my heart's desire. And so reading God's Word became a necessity --- it would reveal and remove the hidden pink elephants and open up the windows to let His aroma come in.
Proof of the patience of our Father ---- the many years He's watched the slow progress.

During these years, cross referencing different Biblical translations has brought much fullness to the pursuit of growing in the knowledge of God.
Often times I've heard people refer to various translations of God's Word in demeaning ways. Implying that one translation is superior and another translation is only read by "ear tickling" believers and not true saints. While there are some translations that are theologically and spiritually questionable and not filled with the fullness of our Lord, there are many translations that will lavish His truths on us and escort the Holy Spirit into our realm of understanding. We would be wise to remember that unless we are willing to learn the original Greek and Hebrew to therefore accurately translate the genuine writings into English, every translation --- is just that --- a translation.
King James, NIV, Amplified, Message, Living Word, American Standard, Wycliff's, Young's, etc. each represents attempts to translate the original Greek and Hebrew to understandable modern day language. The most solid translations are those that were translated from the Greek and Hebrew --- the less reliable were translated from a previous translation.
I write of this, because it was a point of personal struggle for me --- for several years. So i began an odyssey of sorts with my Lord --- wanting to be sure i read what He wanted me to read -- and did not rely on opinions of others or cultural mindsets to dictate my journey. God whispered to my heart --- "read many, cross reference them, measure them up to each other --- you'll see clearly --- I will show you --- what is from me and what is from men. MY words will be multiplied to you and their words will be diminished. My words will come again and again in many translations, men's words will not stand up to the test." And oh, it has been true. I am so thankful.
Reading multiple translations --- can reveal truth more deeply.

When we are truly reliant on and focused on what comes to us from our Father, He enables us to recognize what is counterfeit, it doesn't taste right, it feels wrong going down. We want what comes from His hand ---- and no other.
When we hear of occults that have taken God's word and twisted it grotesquely to fit their teachings --- we must remember -- somewhere in the beginning -- the choice was made to follow what a man/woman was teaching, their opinion, their way. God's Word was left behind.
It is for this reason, we should not take in the "opinion of another" and nest there. Never let someone's opinion of what God's Word says override what it actually says.
In reality --- listening to someone's opinion about God's Word --- is simply receiving a "verbal translation" of God's Word. We must listen, PAUSE, and measure it up to the truth of God's Word. Never take it in and hold it in your lap --- just because they say it well or they're "really such a good person". These are never qualifiers for TRUTH. 
Do not sit long under a "teacher" who shares their opinion ----- as if that is the way to walk in. They may refer to God's word --- but their opinion is the point of their teaching. There in lies much danger.
Rather, nest yourself in God's Word -- and when a Godly teacher who also nests in God's Word is before you --- you will quickly recognize God's truths in their teaching. Learning can bloom safely there; "growth in the knowledge of God".

If you have never opened up your mind to cross referencing translations of God's Word, please consider doing so. Rather than reading a whole chapter one morning --- read 1 or 2 verses, in many translations. Nest on the verse(s). Roll it through your mind, pray over it, pray it, revisit it, listen with your soul to the deep truth it has for you, on that day, in your world. Meditate on God's Word - in this way. You may find yourself in a peaceful place, you become lovingly drawn to this place day after day. Nesting in God's Word, listening for His voice in your world.

Oh that as we read God's Word --- may we always find ourselves in the posture of listening for God and seeing His answers in the pages we turn. And in doing so, we will be able to discern, by God's guidance when the words we hear are HIS.

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 1 Thessalonians 4:7

A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Luke 7:37-38

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene.  2 Timothy 2: 15 - 17 (NIV)

Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.
But avoid all empty (vain, useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.
And their teaching [will devour; it] will eat its way like cancer or spread like gangrene.  
2 Timothy 2:15-17 (Amplified Bible)

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