[I am posting this early because this is becoming more of a theme than I’d planned on.]
44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jn 6:44 is a memory verse in the COGs. We love to quote it. We cling to it like a warm blanket, knowing that while many today might not understand us or what we do, someday they will.
Why don’t we also quote v 45? Do we really understand what it means? Most of us can recall when we came to know the truth. But, how did we know we knew? That’s a little harder to explain. We can point to all sorts of evidence and reason, but if that’s all it was, then everyone would come to the same conclusions.
No, somehow we are changed by God’s Spirit to begin to put the puzzle pieces together a different way. As a result, our picture of God is quite different than most others.
Does our learning stop once we are baptized? It shouldn’t!
Should we continue learning from God or from men? That’s a little tougher to answer, if you are honest. Often, God uses men and women to teach others.
How then do you learn from God? Well, how did you ever? If you are not in GCI/WCG, then at some point you realized that you were learning from a man instead of God. How did you know then? Hopefully, it was because you realized something wasn’t right. It just didn’t measure up to reality. Something he said just didn’t jive with the Scriptures. No matter how hard you tried to twist those verses, it just would not stay in that position!
I knew an elder who is a very intelligent man. It wasn’t a matter of smarts. He was very well liked. It wasn’t a matter of personality. He would speak, and I knew it wasn’t right. I would get a feeling in the pit of my stomach. I would tried to reason with him. I would even politely argue with him. I know I wasn’t the only one. He no longer attends my organization.
I remember an event once where a pastor of a particular congregation got up to speak. I did not know the man. Frankly, I couldn’t have picked him out of a lineup before the event. He got up to give announcements. Yes, announcements! He cracked a joke. I was shocked at the joke. It showed a certain insensitivity. I was offended, actually. I couldn’t concentrate the rest of the announcements. I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach. I just kept thinking, “What attitude does this joke portray? What spirit works in this man?” He no longer pastors with my particular organization.
It took me a long time to realize it, but I had that feeling one other time. I was on leave from the Army, of all things. Mom had a Plain Truth laying around. On the back, was a picture of Joseph Tkach, Sr. “Who’s that?” I asked. She explained he took HWA’s place as Pastor General. “Never heard of him,” I said. She raved about his accomplishments in the legal battle against the State of California, how he wants everyone to be more loving, etc, but all it did was give me a feeling in the pit of my stomach.
What does it mean? It means real learning was taking place and not just “book learning” – it becomes a part of you.
It means that God was training my conscience to be sensitive to certain things. Some of them I’m sure are subconscious and I’ll never be able to completely explain. However, I had enough knowledge for bouncing certain things off of Scripture: Did the speaker just say what I thought he said, which contradicts thus-and-such passage in the Bible? Was that a Godly attitude? Why is he changing all of these “minor” doctrines, anyhow?
It means that even before my conversion, God was drawing me. It means that once I finally submitted, I was allowing myself to be taught of God.
May we all continue to be taught of God.