Giving Up Your Right to Understand
I have had this phrase in my head for some quite some time now and it is this: “You need to give up your right to understand.” Perhaps it’s not the most cheerful one but as I read through scripture I find a similar theme throughout. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.”
I could spend one full blog post on this passage, but what I want to focus on is the part which says, “then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding.” The word transcend literally means to surpass or go above. In other words, God’s peace will go beyond or above your human understanding which means you need to give up your right to understand. If you are curious how Colby and I’s journey to become parents has been so full of peace it’s been because we have given up our right to understand.
Proverbs 3:5-10 says, “Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go. Don’t think for a moment that you know it all, for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion and avoid everything that’s wrong. Then you will find the healing refreshment your body and spirit long for. Glorify God with all your wealth, honoring him with your very best, with every increase that comes to you. Then every dimension of your life will overflow with blessings from an uncontainable source of inner joy!”
Notice this verse says “do not rely on your own opinions” and “don’t think for a moment that you know it all.” Some translations say “do not be wise in your own eyes.” I have heard it said the more intelligent a person is the harder it is for that person to have a faith life. I don’t know how true this statement actually is, but it does make sense to me. Those with a high level of human wisdom will most likely struggle with relying on God to guide them instead of relying on their opinion. But once again a large part of the Christian life includes giving up your right to understand.
While there is so much here on earth we don’t have answers to I do want to point out we do have access to wisdom, revelation and knowledge through the Holy Spirit so I absolutely don’t want to dismiss that. I don’t want to dismiss or write off that we have a Father who delights in walking in life-union with his sons and daughters and when we choose to do so, he often reveals a lot. But what I want to point out is at the end of the day, we won’t know all the answers and there is a part of our human understanding each of us needs to give up in order to access the deeper things of God, including his presence and his supernatural peace.
Just as God’s Word says in 1 Corinthians 2:5, “God intended that your faith not be established on man’s wisdom but by trusting in his almighty power.” There are several verses similar to this in scripture, but it once again reiterates that to have a faith life, you can’t seek human wisdom, but you must trust God’s almighty power.
If you are struggling to give up your right to understand I want to encourage you to dive into God’s Word. Perhaps study the verses above or find a longer list of verses that speak to this topic. In addition I want to link to a post I wrote in 2016 called “Stop Asking Why.” My hope is this post might encourage you to give up your right to understand by focusing on a more fruitful question than “why.”
How has your human wisdom gotten in the way of your faith journey? Are you trusting in your opinion or God’s? Are you willing to give up your right to understand?
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