Word By Mail

Do You Understand Yet?

Mark 8:1-21

This devotion and 3-minute video come from a message of the same title

Do you understand what the Lord is doing? Do you understand God’s plan? Or how God is at work for good in your present situation? Do you understand what God is up to? Or why he’s got you where he’s got you?

Looking for Spiritual Understanding

I would like to suggest to you; we might often think that we’ve got a pretty good handle on understanding spiritual things. We are prone to think that we actually “get it.”

But the Disciples had plenty to learn about the spiritual understanding of what Jesus was doing, and so do we.

THREE SPIRITUAL TRUTHS

In Mark 8:1-9, there are some huge spiritual truths;
#1) Jesus Is the True Bread of Life come down from heaven.
#2) Jesus is Not Just the Bread of Life for the Jews but also for the Gentiles.
#3) The Supply of Jesus will Always EXCEED the Need that we have.


But, do you think the Disciples were looking for the great spiritual truths about Jesus in this miracle? It doesn't seem like they were. The Disciples really lacked spiritual understanding. In fact, at the end of our text today, Jesus is going to ask his Disciples very directly, “Don’t you understand yet?” and the answer is obviously – no, they did not understand yet.

We are often in the same boat as they are. Maybe we think we understand. However, more often than not, we don’t understand what God’s doing any better than the Disciples did.

ARGUING WITH JESUS

In Mark 8:11, the Pharisees argued with Jesus. They tested him and demanded Jesus show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. But, it’s not just the Pharisees. We have a tendency in our own sin nature to argue with God. We may even test God or demand that he prove himself to us. Because we don;t understand the ways, or thoughts, of God.

Mark 8:12 (NLT)
12 When he heard this 
(their arguing, testing, demanding), he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, I will not give this generation any such sign.”

Doesn’t it scare you that Jesus would sigh deeply in his spirit over your attitude towards him? The Pharisees (as well as you and I) are not in a place to argue or test or demand that Jesus prove himself to us. Jesus is not the one with a lack of spiritual understanding. You and I are.

PERSPECTIVE

And so, Jesus is not the one who needs to bend to our understanding. We are the ones who need to bend to his understanding.
 
We can’t put on Jesus our understanding and our perspective. We can’t say, “This is the way I see things. This is the way it should be. Jesus, why aren’t you listening to me?” We absolutely must come to Jesus in humble brokenness, knowing that we lack spiritual understanding; and the correct spiritual perspective. We don’t know all that God’s doing. We have to start by saying, “Lord, I don’t understand. I lack the correct spiritual perspective. Lord, please give it to me.”

And there may be some right now who are thinking, well, not me. I actually DO have spiritual understanding. I get it. I understand.

But here’s a secret I’ve learned from forty years of following Jesus – The more we think we understand, the more likely it is that we don’t understand. The more we think we know, the more likely it is that we don’t know.

If we are going to grow in our spiritual understanding of Jesus Christ, it must begin with our complete acknowledgment that in ourselves, we lack spiritual understanding.

CONFESSION

If we will come to Jesus and honestly say, “Lord, let me first agree with you. (That’s what confession is). I don’t know what you’re doing here or why. The only spiritual insight I have is what you give me by your Holy Spirit through divine revelation and leading. In and of myself, I don’t know.

“When I can’t see, I’ll trust. When I don’t understand, I’ll trust. And Lord, I pray you would continue to reveal true spiritual understanding to me – as we walk together. Continue to reveal day-by-day, step-by-step, the incredible, awesome, glorifying thing you’re doing in the midst of this circumstance right now.”

If we will come to Jesus with that heart, then Jesus will embrace us and reveal his spiritual understanding to us. We, (like the Disciples), lack spiritual understanding in and of ourselves. Without the infilling of the Holy Spirit, without the transforming power of God in our lives, we just don’t get it. It’s not in our own nature, no matter how gifted we think we are. The truth is – we do not know what God is doing, except for the limited amount that he chooses to reveal to us.

TRUE SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING

We have got to begin our attempt to understand what God is doing by clearly understanding that we don’t know what God is doing.

God can and will give us more spiritual understanding, but it must start with us recognizing that we have NO true spiritual understanding on our own. We can only receive spiritual understanding as we humbly seek God for it and as he graciously reveals it to us.

Isaiah 55:8–9 (NLT)
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.


May we have the courage to set aside our own thoughts and our own ways, and instead, seek the Lord with all we’ve got, to receive His spiritual understanding.