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Learn God’s language to speak to Him

By Dr. Chris Surber

Because of our family’s missionary work in Haiti, I know a number of children who, due to conditions of extreme poverty, are very far behind academically, if they have access to education at all.

One day I gave a little boy a pen and some paper. I told him to write me something. I had a Bible and a little notepad sitting between us with a bunch of notes and numbers visible on an open page. He proceeded to just write a collection of random letters and numbers as he copied them from my notes and from the cover of the Bible.

I realized the little boy had no knowledge of numbers or letters and didn’t even know the difference between them. They were all just indiscernible symbols and characters. He had no knowledge of their meaning.

He had created a bunch of content that pointed nowhere. He was proud of what he thought he had accomplished, but he hadn’t accomplished anything.

I think that’s what a lot of spiritually minded people are doing today. They use words like “God” without any distinct comprehension or concrete idea of who God is or how He may have expressed himself in ways knowable.

A lot of us today have spiritual content that lacks any meaning. We worship a god we don’t know in ways God has not commanded us to worship.

In his 1976 book, “How Should We Then Live,” Francis Schaeffer uses the 1970 Beatles song “My Sweet Lord” to illustrate this point. When the song was released a number of people believed that George Harrison may have accepted Jesus. But in the background when the song plays you can hear the words “Krishna, Krishna, Krishna.” Krishna is just one Hindu name for god.

Is our concept of God any clearer? Are we speaking God’s language or just smushing a bunch of spiritual and religious ideas together?

Harrison was not revering a personal God that can be known in Jesus Christ or in the Bible or in any other tangible way for that matter. He was using the vaguest sentiment of religion, which is sentimentality only.

A lot of us have spiritual feelings in our hearts, but those spiritual feelings are little more than jumbled letters and numbers and symbols on a page if they are not tied directly to some knowable expression of an existent God.

You and I are not children of God because we “feel” that we are. We are children of God to the extent that we come to Him speaking His language.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NLT)

He either is or He is not, and if He is we must approach Him on His terms. Spiritual sentiment isn’t enough. We must be born again. We must learn to speak His language to understand His ways. We can’t just smash symbols together on a page.

Chris Surber is the pastor at Liberty Spring Christian Church in Suffolk. Email him at chris@chrissurber.com.