Got What?

            Mr. A. was the sort of high school history teacher who thought he knew all the answers.  We were all to be eternally grateful for being under his esteemed influence and were expected to salivate in anticipation of his profound wisdom.  .  We had to take plenty of thorough notes, since much from his lectures wasn’t in the book, and it was anybody’s guess what would appear on tests.  Often he would shift his ever present breath mint around in his mouth and haughtily bellow, “Now, your book  is wrong here, People.”  Then he would dutifully set us straight.  Nobody liked him much.  Several girls were uncomfortable in his presence.  Before class students speculated on which suit coat his Japanese wife had picked out for him that day.  The black pants were a given, but would the coat and tie be bright red, green, hot pink, or lavender?

            I had Mr. A. in my Junior year, the same year I became born again.  I tipped my hand regarding my interest in spiritual things when I chose to write our assigned research paper about the life of Roger Williams, who was a man of God, staunch proponent of religious liberty and founder of the Rhode Island colony.  One day near the end of class, while others were still completing a test, Mr. A. quietly singled me out and asked me if I was truly interested in religious matters.  He promised answers and coaxed me to follow him into the hallway for a private talk.  This was highly irregular, and I was nervous.

            Putting his hand on my shoulder, Mr. A. asked what I could see when I looked up on a clear night.  “Stars,” I answered hesitantly. “They are there every night aren’t they, even when it’s cloudy?” he asked.    I agreed they were.  “Can we count them?”  “No.”  “So, we don’t know how many there are, but they’re always there, right?”  Again I agreed.   “John, the most important piece of advice I can give you is: Have faith.”  I must have looked puzzled.  “That’s it.  Just have faith,,” he said, and headed back to class.

            To this day I can only guess at what he meant; but I believe he was saying “religious matters,” like the uncountable stars, are beyond our understanding, so it’s necessary to have faith.  That day he was not helpful at all.  In fact, his pious sounding words were a stumbling block to me and left me with several unanswered questions.  What good was faith by itself?  What kind of faith?  Faith in what or whom?  I already had faith in Christ for salvation, and I knew spiritual growth called for more than that.  What about bible doctrine?  What about a personal relationship with Christ in everyday life?  Mr. A.’s arrogant indirectness clearly showed that he had no idea what that meant.

            Now let me pass along some advice to you.  If you’re a born again believer in Christ and know it, don’t let the Mr. A.s of the world bowl you over with their bafflingly brilliant baloney.  Figuratively speaking, they’re everywhere, waiting to jump you.  The Apostle Paul put it this way in Colossians 2:6-8:  “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”  In Galatians 1:8 he wrote, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”  He was so emphatic about that that he repeated it in v. 9.  Be on guard.  Don’t be deceived.  You can know God’s Holy Word.  Call on the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth and keep you in truth, as Jesus told His disciples He would.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Thoughts from John

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