"Can God create a ball so big that not even He can lift it?", my fellow 8 year old friend, Pam, asked. (I didn't know the answer) That was part of the first conversation about God with someone outside my family that I remember. She also asked if the chicken or the egg came first, and things such as that. We never got those questions answered that day, but Pam and I are still friends, and she knows the Lord.
Later I learned Hebrews 11:3 says the spiritual world created the physical world, making the physical world a lower level of creation. That means any ball the Father created in the physical would be of a lower creation than the spiritual world, thus subject to Him, making the answer to her question about whether He could lift it, yes. And the second answer according to Genesis 1: 11-12, 21-22 is the chicken came first. But to our inquiring 8 year old minds, these were serious questions to consider as we waited for the school bus to arrive.
Many of us unconsciously carry childhood formed beliefs such as the above into our adult walk with the Lord. One of those flawed foundations can be revealed if we try to answer Pam's question; Can God do anything?
Today we might quickly say something like "He cannot lie", or "He cannot break His Word", but beyond that we've not thought it through, and childhood error seeps into modern formulas we think are of 'faith', and how we view Almighty God.
Here is a case in point
I was with a group of people praying for a woman concerning her business deal in which she said, some of the people involved were dishonest. Their behavior was delaying a closing of the contract which would be a big financial blessing to her. A woman standing next to me started shouting loudly as she prayed, in which she alternatively addressed the Lord and then the devil and back again in a confused prayer or rebuke or command or declaration or plea - take your pick.
Her requests included asking the Father to judge the dishonest people by giving them sickness until they repented, praying accidents would happen to them until they gave in to do what was right, and somewhere in there commanded angels to send the devil to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (I immediately felt sorry for the river rafters on the Colorado River at the bottom of the Canyon, as I stifled a chuckle).
This woman believed that God could and would do anything for His kids, probably something she carried with her since a child, the idea that God can do anything. It carried into her formulas of faith, and resulted in a life in which she knew the Lord, but was more wrapped up in formulas than knowing Him.
Like anyone you know when you hear something someone claims they said or did and you respond, 'That doesn't sound like them', so too can we know the Father and Lord well enough to say 'That doesn't sound like Him." Additionally, we have the Spirit of truth within us as a 'fact checker', and if you work at becoming sensitive to Him and learning to immediately measure what you see and hear against what you sense in your spirit, you'll stay in balance and truth.
The woman above lacked any real power in her life as a result of her jumbled theology, nor did she know Him well enough to know what He would and would not do.
The Spirit of Truth - God's limits
In John 16:13 Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth. He said He would guide us into all truth. That is the first limitation of the Holy Spirit. He is Truth so He can present nothing else. The Greek word for truth here is 'aletheia' and means 'that which cannot be hidden.' Jesus said the same thing of Himself in John 14: 7:
"I am the way, the 'that which cannot be hidden', and the life: No one comes to the Father but by Me."
Truth is impartial
Truth just states the facts without any judgement, without any emotion, without accusation nor excuse. It is just 'that which cannot be hidden.' An example can be found in Joshua 5: 13-14:
"Now it happened when Joshua was near Jericho he lifted up his eyes, and behold, he saw a man opposite him with a sword drawn in his hand. Joshua approached him and asked, 'Are you for us or for our adversaries?' And he said, 'No (neither), I come as commander of the Lord's armies.' And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipped and asked, 'What does my Lord (adonai in Hebrew) say to His servant?' And the Commander of the Lord's (Yahweh) army said to him: 'Take your sandals off your feet for you are on holy ground."
Many have wondered about these verses, and some have even taught error, that this was an angel appearing to Joshua, but that is incorrect, it is the Lord: Angels do not receive worship. And the only instances in which a person is commanded to remove his shoes when talking with a divine being is when they are in the presence of God Himself, such as when Moses was before the burning bush in Exodus 3: 5.
The reason man in the Old Testament had to remove shoes when in God's presence is that shoes are man made, and we cannot in any way come to God on the basis of what we have done to get us there. He created the earth and He created our bodies, and there can be no man-made fabrication between the two - when we come to God it is on His terms and by His grace alone. Today, Christ lives in us which is our basis for coming to Him, so there is no requirement to remove our shoes.
It is the same reason they were told when they build an altar for sacrifice to the Lord they could not chisel or shape the rocks in any form or fashion (Exodus 20: 25), but had to use them as they were found - the way God made them. No sacrifice to God is of our doing, and we come to Him by His grace and can never involve anything we did on our own to get there.
Truth is this: Coming to Him just as we are, warts and all as they say. That is transparency, nakedness before Him. He knows our thoughts before we form them in our minds and when we pray, when we commune with Him, He is only Truth - that truth is life - but it requires in us an honesty and transparency not often found in the heart of man. To be willing to expose our innermost thoughts to Him, if they are not love, if they are not pure, is a bit scary were it not for the fact we know He loves us and wants us with Him forever.
He is truth, He cannot go beyond Truth. He cannot shade the truth nor twist it to His benefit. Truth is just there. The issue is how we respond to truth.
To have or to be Truth without Him being love would be the end of us all. But truth in the hands of a Being of love, a benevolent and good Being, is grace.
But why did the Lord answer 'no' or 'neither' to the question, 'Are you for us or against us?'
That is for next week, until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org