I have thought about this subject for the past week. Words are a love of mine – books, writing, and it intrigues me that one word can be used with so many different nuances. Continuing with the thought of being clear, or getting clear, the next two definitions are similar: easily understood; entirely comprehensible.
What comes to my mind when I read this are the times when I have been less than easily understood because I wanted to appear more spiritual or more intelligent than I actually am! I remember the first year or two when I returned to college. After home educating my children for thirteen years, and, at times, explaining defensively (or sheepishly, depending on the mood), that I did not have a college degree, I was pretty daggone proud that I was finally going to be ‘intelligent enough’ to be getting my college degree. I had ‘arrived’ when I could throw around the big words with the best of them. 😉 To make things even better, I attended a Christian college, which meant that I had to take theology and church history classes. Consequently, my newfound knowledge could impress my church friends, as well! (More likely, I bored them to tears). But was I easily understood or entirely comprehensible when it came to using that new Biblical knowledge in leading people to Christ? Doubtful. I fear my focus was more on myself than on helping others understand.
How clear are we with the gospel? Do we need to weigh it down with many words or magnanimous doctrine or is it, as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:3, the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ? Now, I pray that when I present the gospel, or when you have an opportunity to do so, we will be distinct, evident, plain.
Free from confusion, uncertainty, or doubt is our next definition. The society in which we live today is filled with what sometimes feels like insurmountable confusion and uncertainty. Doubts concerning who to believe and in whom to trust abound in the lives of most people. The very things that we took for granted just a generation ago are now the subject of great confusion and doubt, such as gender identity. Two generations ago very few questioned the existence of God and the majority of Americans attended a church of one denomination or another. Today, however, mankind walks around like blind men, groping in the darkness looking for light. There is only one thing that frees us from confusion and uncertainty, one thing that frees us from doubt, one thing perfectly clear in the world today – the gospel and the Person of Jesus Christ. We need only to look around us to see what happens apart from Him.
Free from suspicion of guilt or complicity – you know? Some Christians I have known feel more comfortable with guilt than freedom. It sounds crazy, I know, but think about it. The whole ‘sins are washed away’ thing, as far as the east is from the west thing, just doesn’t make logical sense to us. So, many, if not most, Christians secretly don’t really buy it, (is that heresy? Or truth?) Basically, those of us who cling to the guilt and refuse to let it go are calling God a big liar, but never mind that, right? I used to hold onto that guilt as though my life depended on it! I teethed on guilt, so it was something I was comfortable with. Besides, I was afraid that if I released it, then I must not be truly sorry for my sins. However, many years ago I read Hinds Feet in High Places, by Hannah Hurnard Smith, and somehow, by God’s grace and mercy, He gradually pried my hands loose from the guilt, (not that I never grapple with it, I just don’t live with it, anymore). Christians can be clear of guilt; and we are meant to be.
Without limitation or qualification: this definition causes me to think of all the limitations or qualifications I place on God when I ‘surrender’ to Him or ask Him to lead me in His path for His glory. You know what I mean: God, I’ll follow You anywhere except (you fill in the blank). Or, I’ll do anything You ask of me…OH, not that! You surely didn’t mean that! Was that Satan??
How much do I trust my Father to be a good God, who always has plans for a future and a hope for me? Is His Word true? If so, then we can offer our lives to Him without limitation or qualification.
Our last definition for today is serene, calm, untroubled. 2016 will not go down in my personal book as an untroubled year of serenity and calm. However, I can confess that my walk with God has been untroubled and calm. We live in a war zone; the enemy has some things to throw at us from his arsenal, but he isn’t really that creative. The truth is, if you’ve ever read The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, you’ll understand that we’re pretty easily duped. But we have our own weaponry, as Ephesians 6:10-18,points out, and truly, greater is God within us than he that is in the world.
Is that clear?