I was having a conversation recently with a friend (Chelsie, where you at?!), and as we were talking through a certain part of the Bible we landed on the topic of how there are so many different and polarizing views within Christianity.
My friend asked, “If we all have access to the same Bible, how is it that we come up with such different conclusions?” Well, Great question…
Did you know that there are 35 major denominations within Christianity, all of which vary on different issues, big and small? From women in leadership, to gifts of the Spirit, to predestination, to homosexuality, we quickly discover a sharp dividing line in our views, although we all pledge allegiance to the same blueprint for life (a.k.a the Bible).
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that our knowledge and understanding on earth will never be perfect. Here are just two reasons why:
1.We are awaiting full transformation.
The human race has fallen from God and because of that has also fallen from it’s intended state. Although faith in Christ restores our life for now and eternity, we are still awaiting a full restoration from sin and its effects.
“We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incomplete will be canceled” I Corinthians 13:8-10
2. Knowledge makes us feel important.
Possessing knowledge about a particular issue can easily become more about proving a point than gaining a person. And although our viewpoint may be accurate, it can be limited in it’s scope of understanding.
“Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge”… But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.” (I Corinthians 8:1)
As my friend and I continued discussing this we realized that held within the portion of scripture we were discussing there was a safeguard hidden in the exchange between God, and a man named Moses, for us to follow.
“When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”“Here I am!” Moses replied.“Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.” (Exodus 3:4-5)
When God broke his silence with Moses he said four powerful words.
Take. off. your. shoes.
In Asian culture taking off your shoes before entering someone’s house is a sign of respect. There are usually a couple of steps leading up to the main entrance of houses in Asia that invite people to physically and psychologically “(step) up to a different level” and someone’s private space. The act of leaving shoes at the door in a sense signifies that a person is graciously willing to honor the codes of the house they are entering.
We discover that before God speaks to Moses, he asks him to remove his shoes. Now, I seriously doubt that God worried about Moses’ shoes messing anything up, but rather it spoke of the intangible things that Moses needed to remove before he could hear what God wanted to say.
Shoes = doubts, fears, judgements, prejudices, pre-conceived ideas, insecurities, and the list goes on.
I find in this simple but profound exchange a powerful secret for us. If we desire to hear God’s voice of wisdom, instruction, and insight, we must first take off our shoes.
We must remove the things that would impede our understanding and love towards God, ourselves, and others. Psalm 46:10 instructs us to “Be still, and KNOW that He is God.” In order to know God I must stop my restless striving, and similarly, if I want to understand and know as God does I must remove my natural thoughts in order to gain His thoughts.
As imperfect people we won’t always see eye to eye on everything, but we can make a commitment as individuals to follow Moses’ example, and “take off our shoes” (insert whatever that may be for you), so that we can truly hear God’s voice.
When we approach the Bible, enter a church service, start to pray, gather with friends or enemies for that matter, we will have a different kind of strength if we enter that space by first taking off our shoes. Ok, not literally (or people might think your weird), but figuratively removing the things that would hinder us from properly representing the heart and mind of God.
Now every time you take off your shoes let that serve as a reminder of how we should approach every area of our lives–with an open and humble heart. Willing to let go of our small thoughts and ideas in order to gain a God-size perspective.