Seeing Through A Glass

For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I also am known.  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

I Corinthians 13:12-13

Verse 12 of this passage tells us that now, we “see through a glass darkly,  but then face to face.”  What we see now of spiritual things is like looking through a dark glass.  We can see some shadows and objects, and we might be able to make out a few colors, but, for the most part, we can’t see much.  Things are definitely not clear to us.  They are, at best, very blurry.

We see the same way spiritually right now.  We might think that we see everything very clearly, but we don’t.  We might think that we are good at discerning spiritual things, but we do still have to deal with the old flesh every day.  The Lord helps us, guides us and shows us many things from His Word, but our sinful nature is always ready to try to stop us from learning and seeing them.  There is an old saying: “the best of men are men at best.”  None of us are perfect and none of us can see everything.  We can’t even see clearly the things that we can see.

We should be thankful for the light and insight that we have been given, but we should also understand that we don’t know or see everything.  It is simply not possible for us right now.  We can see pictures of Jesus in His Word.  We can see His effect on our lives and on the lives of others.  But our vision of Him is still a little cloudy.  But it will not always be like this.  There is coming a day when we will see Him face to face and we will see everything perfectly clear.

Psalm Saturday 9c

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvelous works.  I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.  When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.  For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.  Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever. O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetualend: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.  But the LORD shall endure forever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.  And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.  The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.  And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Psalm 9:1-10

This Psalm tells us about Praising the Lord.  It then reminds us of what will eventually happen to the enemies of the Lord.  “They shall fall and perish at thy presence.  It is an interesting contrast.  As Christians who know the Lord, we are waiting for His appearance.  His appearance is precious and important to us.  We are even told to look for Him and to love His appearing.  But the wicked are not so.  They fall and perish at His very presence.  Just being in the presence of the Lord destroys the wicked.  We need to be thankful that we have a truly blessed hope!

Childish Things

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

I Corinthians 13:8-11

At the end of this passage, it tells us that “…when I became a man, I put away childish things.”  There are some things that children do that adults do not do.  They are not always bad thing, they are just different.  Just as we would not expect a child to go to work an earn a living, we would not expect to see an adult man playing with a rattle.  There is nothing at all wrong with playing with a rattle, it is just not something that an adult man or woman would do.  That is something that a person should “put away” as they grow older.  There are many things like this in our spiritual lives as well.

There are many spiritual “baby rattles” in our Christian lives.  They are things that are not necessarily sins, but are things that are not becoming for a mature “adult” Christian.  There are some things that we just need to leave behind as we grow up.  Some things are just childish, and some things are just things that are too time consuming.  As we get older, we start finding that we do not have time to do everything that we would like to do.  We have to leave some things behind.  We have to put them away.  In our spiritual lives, we need to put away some things.  Hopefully, we are putting away the right things.

Growing

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

I Corinthians 13:8-11

In this passage, verse 11 deals with the fact that we are supposed to grow up.  It happens physically and mentally.  It should also happen spiritually.  If a child is born and then 10 years later there is no physical development, that child has a serious problem.  Sadly, there are diseases and conditions that cause a child to not develop properly.  There are diseases and conditions that cause a child to not develop mentally.  But, if a child doesn’t develop physically or mentally, we know that there is a problem somewhere.  It is the same in our Christian lives.  We should be developing, learning, and growing spiritually.  If we are not, there is a problem somewhere.

Usually, the problem that keeps us from developing spiritually is the problem of sin.  Keeping sin in our lives will stunt our spiritual growth.  It will keep us from growing up in the Lord as we ought to be doing.  If we have been saved for many years and still find ourselves as “baby Christians,” we need to examine our lives and deal with the sin that we find.  That will allow us to resume our “growth.”

There are many others things that threaten to hinder our growth such as not eating enough.  Children are famous for eating a lot because “they are growing.”  We need to “eat” a lot of the Word of God to grow spiritually.

Are we growing today?  Have we grown any in the last year?  Two years?

Speaking and Understanding as a Child

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

I Corinthians 13:8-11

This passage is often used to point out the fact that, as we grow older (and hopefully more mature), we will need to put away childish things.  We need to grow up, physically, mentally and spiritually.  And, I believe that is the correct application.  But I would like to point out something from a slightly different angle.  I am a teacher and I see these things often.  There is a balance that we need.  We all have to grow up – physically, mentally and spiritually.  We are not born fully developed as men and women.  It is the same with us mentally – we are not born knowing everything.  It is the same spiritually – we are not born again as mature Christians.  We have to grow.  We have to learn.  We have to mature.

There is an old saying that says “there is a ditch on both sides of the road.”  I think a lot of people fall into the ditch on one side of the other in this area.  Some people go too far in this direction: they do not accept the fact that, when a person is a child, they are going to think and speak like a child.  They expect children to behave as adults.  They do not allow for “childish thinking.”  There are some Christians who expect young Christians to behave like they have been saved for 40 years.  It doesn’t work that way.

On the other hand, some people go too far in the other direction.  They see nothing wrong with their 18 or 20 year old children acting, thinking and speaking like they’re 5 years old.  We should expect to see development or maturation.

We need to keep this in mind, especially when dealing with children (physical or spiritual children!).

Knowing and Speaking in Part

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

I Corinthians 13:8-11

Everything we say and know is eventually going to vanish away.  Part of the reason for that is simple – as this passage says, “we know in part, and we prophesy in part.”  As much as we think we know and as much as we might way, we really don’t know much.  In fact, we really know very little.  Just think of how little we know in the grand scheme of things.  Think of how little we know compared to all of the knowledge in the world today.  I have recently been trying to learn another language.  Just when I start to think that I am getting pretty intelligent, I come across someone who speaks several languages fluently.  Suddenly, my knowledge seems pretty small.

Now, imagine our tiny amount of knowledge in comparison to the amount of perfect knowledge that the Lord possesses.  We really do know and speak in part.  It is important to remember this sometimes.  It is important to remember this in the context of having charity.  Our knowledge is weak and limited.  Our love does not have to be weak and limited.  Our love for others can be the sacrificial love that Christ had for us.  Our knowledge isn’t nearly as great as we think it is.  Our love needs to be greater.

Charity, Pt. 24

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

I Corinthians 13:4-8

We have been looking at these characteristics of charity for several weeks.  And can now look at verse 8 : “…whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”  All of those things are going to “fail,” but charity is eternal.  Charity never fails.

When I was thinking about this verse, I started thinking about these things as they apply to our everyday lives.

When you think about the people that you have known throughout your life, there are things that we remember and things that we don’t remember.

We usually don’t remember who was right all of the time.  We don’t remember who was a good speaker.  We don’t remember the smartest guys.  We don’t remember those things.  We remember the people who really cared about us.  We remember the people who loved us.

That is one more example of charity never failing.  That is one more example of charity lasting forever.  We don’t want to be known for our speaking ability, or for our intelligence.  We want to be known for our love of others.  We want to be known for caring about people.

Those are the things that are going to help people and change their lives.  Those are the things that w want in our lives.  Those are the things that characterize charity.

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