In the field of medicine we do not want quacks and charlatans. The issues of good health are too important.
There is an established route to becoming a competent medical doctor, and we rightly require all aspiring physicians to adhere to this high standard.
If we are attending college and majoring in history, we expect our professors to have masters, PhDs, and postdoctoral degrees in history.
The one and only area in all of human experience where a standardized route to recognized achievement…falls outside of human orchestration and contrivance, is found in the biblical narrative stories of faith.
This is as we would and should expect in a true interaction with the living God and Creator of the universe, when actualized into human life-scripts.
The only common, repetitive, and standardized through-line in the biblical narrative stories of faith…is that if we will allow Him…the God of the Bible will wisely displace our ways with His higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9) according to God’s eternal plans for our benefit.
Abraham could not originate and orchestrate his unconventional route to becoming the “father of faith” in his wildest imagination.
Joseph in Egypt, Moses, or Joshua could not self-compose their unique life-scripts and materialize events to reach their extraordinary outcomes.
The acclaimed teacher Gamaliel speaking before the Sanhedrin Council differentiates the difficulty of discerning the true activities of God using conventional standards:
35 Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nothing.
37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nothing:
39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest perhaps ye be found even to fight against God. (Acts 5:35-39)
During Paul’s last trip to Jerusalem, as the chief captain of the Roman guards in the city went to quell the uproar over the Jews of Asia discovering Paul in the temple…the chief captain asks Paul: “Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days maddest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?” (Acts 22:38).
Jesus asked the question in Mark 8:27-30:
27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?
28 And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.
29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.
30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.
Discernment, critical-thinking, and right judgment are essential for today’s Christians (Mk. 12:35-37, 13:28-31).
The uniqueness of the God of the Bible at the fundamental, worldview level is that He can and does prepare people for their mission-plans according to His own original routes…that are difficult to detect and rightly evaluate when we are “in the flesh” (Jn. 8:14-15).
The same quality of recognized accolades, certifications, and diplomas that identify acquired expertise does not always work when applied to the biblical narrative stories of faith…these life-stories being the sanctioned and authorized examples of how God works.
When Abraham first arrived in Canaan no one knew who he was or anything about his special calling.
This is the starting baseline for understanding how clueless the world is regarding the higher ways and thoughts of God.
The religious elites in Jerusalem during the ministry of Jesus exhibit just how clueless they are when they examine the blind man healed by Jesus recorded in John 9:1-38…”We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.” (Jn. 9:29).
They did not understand the true character of Jesus Christ in the deepest sense of spiritual and moral discernment.
We need to be walking ourselves in a genuine journey of faith following Jesus Christ…in order to be able to recognize a genuine walk of faith in others…to be able to discern the Holy Spirit in action.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thes. 5:4-6)
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” (Eph. 5:8).