Above Our Proficiency

God’s Word is…

September 25th, 2019

I have a friend of mine that is an enthusiastic amateur musician. Neither one of us play our instruments for money, the closest we ever got to performing was for family and our churches.

I guess it has been a couple years back that we were talking music and this friend described a mandolin that they were really interested in one day having when their skills had grown to merit such a fine instrument. The mandolin in question was likely three or four times the value of their current instrument if not more, but I could see the spark in their eye and offered this advice.

Two things I shared with them…

First, proficiency can be gained by lots of hard work and effort, the concerted effort one puts forward has a direct relationship to the end result over time. Effort and consistency work! However, when it comes to musical instruments, to a substantial degree, the investment in a better more playable, better sounding instrument is a tremendous investment for any musician seeking to improve their craft.

If you really love it, make the investment and what you’ll find is that your proficiency will increase measurably faster. You will have the desire to use it more, hence getting more practice with it. The fact you have spent good money to secure the instrument will impress on you the importance of getting a good return for that investment in achievement, and the pure joy of the finer instrument will have a profound effect on your satisfaction level.

The second thing is given the instrument you have now, and the fact you bought it several years ago, if you divided the years and months into the cost of that instrument, the monthly investment was nothing compared to the reward it has given you. Doing the same projection in regard to this new instrument, would provide an even better cost benefit ratio over time, as owning a lifetime instrument delivers its benefit over the life of the owner.

They pondered this for a few weeks and before I knew it, they announced that they had taken my advice to heart and had ordered the instrument and was eagerly awaiting its delivery. The instrument came and they were amazed at how much better they quickly became on this new mandolin.

If I remember correctly, I was told by this friend that it was almost as if the mandolin practically played itself.

We don’t get to talk very often any more since the place we both were employed closed. But yesterday I had an occasion to talk to them via email because I had sent them a birthday wish. We always enjoyed comparing notes about music and church. We mutually share a love of both guitar and mandolin.

They favored mandolin over guitar, and I favor guitar over mandolin.

The emails ensued back and forth several times and in the process, they revealed to me that they had made a new investment, in regard to the guitar this time. They had recently purchased what was their lifetime guitar.

I have yet to see this principle fail. If there is a genuine love of something, even if we are not worthy of it, extending oneself in an effort to more intimately embrace that superior instrument of our passion will transform our imperfection into a more perfect devotee.

Such is the case with God’s Word. Its application, truth, and depth are beyond any human understanding, but if we love it, and invest ourselves in it, the growth that ensues is nothing short of phenomenal.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16 (CSB)

Actually, this passage surprises me a bit every time I read it. “I am not ashamed of the gospel”? For real Paul, I am not ashamed, no I’m elated, engrossed, and engaged. When you have a love affair with the Word of God it is going to be so far from not being ashamed it isn’t funny.

 But I have to cut Paul a bit of slack, first consider his audience, then the fact that we are dealing with a translation, so perhaps we should look into the root words meaning for what has been translated here.

Well that’s interesting… the root means to be ashamed of something! Paul what is up?

Okay, enough of me badgering our brother Paul. I’m sure he loved God’s Word as much or more than any of us.

There was a lot the Christians in Rome had to endure to be followers of Jesus, for many it was a sentence of physical death, so to say that we are not ashamed of the Gospel is the equivalent of saying, ‘go ahead, shoot me, tie me to the stake, I’m not going to bow to any other than the one who IS the Word.’

Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you. Wisdom is supreme — so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding.

Cherish her, and she will exalt you; if you embrace her, she will honor you. She will place a garland of grace on your head; she will give you a crown of beauty.”

Listen, my son. Accept my words, and you will live many years. I am teaching you the way of wisdom; I am guiding you on straight paths.

Proverbs 4:6-11 (CSB)

In other words, these words that God has written for us are pure wisdom and understanding. They are a treasure that we must seek out and master as best we can just as one would a fine instrument of music.

The greater our investment in this instrument of our passion the greater our reward and the more adept with it we will become.

Cherish her, and she will exalt you; if you embrace her, she will honor you. She will place a garland of grace on your head; she will give you a crown of beauty.

The Word of God is far above our proficiency. It doesn’t matter if we have a Doctor of Divinity and have spent our lifetime combing the scripture to unveil its truth for our lives; there is always more, it is always deeper, it is always more broad reaching that we could ever fathom.

Perhaps one day when we have new bodies, and along with them a supercharged brain, as well as all of the knowledge and resources of God himself at our disposal, we might understand all of what He has provided for us. But even then, we will never possess a complete competence of The Word, because the Word is living, and His name is Jesus! (Yet another concept we have difficulty fully grasping.)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.                                    

John 1:1-4 (CSB)

He is The Word. He is alive and living. He will always be living, and expounding more for us to take in. We might have the capacity to retain it, but even if we don’t, that love and passion we have for it will grow within us evermore. Despite it being “Above Our Proficiency!”

And, Happy Birthday dear friend!

In His Grace!

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