But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me. And the Father who sent me has testified about me himself. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face, and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you. (John 5:36-38)
Relate: I am a skeptic by nature. If someone tells me something, my natural reaction is to doubt what they claim as a fact and, if I do not know already, learn the truth behind whatever it is they are claiming. If I am reading something, I am going to be checking their sources and I often find myself running a steady debate in my mind with the author. Because I read like this, I love reading from authors with who come from a wide variety of viewpoints. It forces me to expand my own knowledge base and helps me to better understand what others believe and why.I don’t often do this out loud in a conversation but rest assured, it is happening deep down inside.
React: The problem is, I can’t always shut it off when I should. When I should be listening to another preacher preaching, I will often be going on my own rabbit trails. Something he said five minutes in will spark something in my mind and I will be bouncing through the scriptures on my own little study barely hearing a word of what God has given this pastor for the rest of us. I didn’t truly hear the message being preached and I didn’t allow the truth the Holy Spirit was presenting to nestle deep down into my heart. I was too busy inspecting one tree to see the forest all around me.
If I was alive in Jesus time I wonder if I would have done the same thing to Him? I wonder if this was the error that so many of the Pharisees fell into? The nature of their discipline, the intense study and memorization, the format of debate and dialogue as a means of learning, would naturally lend itself to people with a personality like mine. I wonder how many of them got so lost into the minutiae of various things Jesus might have said that they didn’t grasp the deeper truth He was presenting both in His teaching and His life. There is a right time for doubt and skepticism, but there is also a time for unquestioning faith and obedience. Did they miss the boat because they couldn’t balance the two? Do I sometimes do the same?
God, help me to keep my eye on the big picture. In my desire to know and understand everything, help me to keep from losing sight of those greater things. Let me eyes ever be focused on You. Give me a humble and teachable heart. Even more, give me a heart that will follow closely after You above and before anything else.