The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Tag: truth

Lent Devotional: Job 25

Job 25 (click here)
How then can man be in the right before God? How can he who is born of woman be pure? 5 Behold, even the moon is not bright, and the stars are not pure in his eyes; 6 how much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm! (Job 25:4-6)

There is some truth in Bildad’s words. No person can be considered 100% in the right before God on the basis of their own merits. However, the point Bildad (and all Job’s friends) have been driving home is that either Job is in the wrong or God is in the wrong. The one thing Bildad has not considered is that he may be in the wrong.

His understanding of God is so tightly put together that he has no room to bring his own theology  under scrutiny. He cannot fathom a situation in which Job is not in the wrong and neither is God… but that is precisely the reality!

We must be willing to allow God to constantly teach us more about himself and more about who he is. We often form a “solid” image of God. We build this image from many things… such as… things we were taught growing up, our favorite Scriptures, things we’ve heard preachers say, etc. But, what happens when we encounter a Scripture that says something we don’t like… perhaps it corrects a belief we hold about God? What do we do then?

We dare not hold onto an image of God we have made… that is the very definition of idolatry! We must hold onto to the image of God as he has revealed himself to us. Often we take even things that are true, like Bildad, and distort them to our own understanding or purposes. We must be careful not to put ourselves in a position where we are attempting to teach God what he is like… no… he is the teacher and we are always the learner.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.


Letter #15: Don’t Debate…Dialogue

Dear Jonathan,

I understand your frustrations with Bradley. From the way you described the conversation I believe I would have been frustrated too. Sometimes there is a point that just seems so obvious to you and you want for others to see it as well, but they seem blind or close-minded.

For what it’s worth…I agree with what you were saying. However, I do think you are missing the central issue of your conversation, namely, that it wasn’t a conversation. We both know that you were in debate mode, trying to prove your point and win the argument…you were not listening at all to what Bradley had to say.

Now, debate is not always a bad thing, but I wasted so much of my time in seminary arguing with others in such a way that only led to frustration and griping…not to fruitful growth. Jonathan, I would encourage you…

debateDon’t debate…dialogue.

You are surrounded by so many people who think differently than you…take advantage of that! When talking through issues such as baptism, the Lord’s supper, ecclesiology, justification, homosexuality, creation care…or even the “big” one…Calvinism and Arminianism, honestly listen to people with the intention of learning from them!

I’m not telling you to change or let go of your convictions, but to change your conversational restrictions. Be open to discussing things. This will stretch you and bring true growth.

I was so blessed, in the latter portion of my seminary career, to deepen my convictions while also widening my appreciation for people who don’t share them. I wish that had been my approach to conversations from the beginning.

When you enter into dialogue, state your thoughts clearly and concisely…then listen, take in what is being said, and don’t formulate your rebuttal while they’re talking. Wait until they finish, process what they said, and then respond in love. In this way, you not only set the tone for the conversation, but will actually get to a deeper place as your inviting disposition will likely lead the other person to open up and say things they might have otherwise held back.

Extend grace to your interlocutors and you might be surprised what gracious things the Lord will teach you through them. These are just some of the great gifts you receive when you…

Don’t debate…dialogue.

Grace and Peace,


*To know/understand the premise behind these letters please click here.

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