Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Pared Down"

"Pared Down"   
   Perhaps you've heard the story about the railway inspector whose boss chided him for writing longwinded reports.  "Pare down your words, Joe" said the supervisor.  Not too long after, the inspector sent a report concerning severe flooding of the tracks in a certain area.  "Where the railroad was, Boss" he penned, "the river is now."

   "He that hath knowledge spareth his words" (Proverbs 17:27).

   I know, I know, you're thinking, "I sure hope Glen will heed what he's writing!"  I'll try, I promise, I'll try!  Indeed, we may discover at the end of our lives that the wisest words we uttered (or wrote) were the ones we chose not to express.  As a skilled musician once wrote about musical performance, "It's not what you play.  It's what you don't play that adds art to the music."  Whether in speaking, writing, or playing, restraint regarding words and notes form the soul of communication.  Indeed, when I receive a question regarding one of these messages that leads me to go back and reread, I always think, "I could have expressed that much better, in far fewer words."  It's hard to see that immediately after writing the messages.  But further reflection almost always improves quality by subtraction down rather than addition.

   This is true in all of life.  Growth in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ involves paring down as much as building up.  As we walk with God, unlearning accompanies our learning of Truth.  The Scriptures not only provide "doctrine" and "instruction in righteousness."  They also expose and eliminate error through the application of "reproof" and "correction" (II Timothy 3:16).  You may have heard another story about a little boy who came home one day from school.  "What did you learn today, Honey?" asked his mother.  The boy replied ruefully, "Well, I learned that 7 + 7 does not equal 17!"  In similar manner, opening our Bibles not only blessedly adds to our knowledge of God and His truth.  It also ruthlessly follows the principles to which the prophet Jeremiah was called: "Root out... pull down… destroy... throw down" (Jeremiah 1:10).

   I'll work on following the railway inspector's example.  More importantly, the Lord will continue His work in all of us to pare away that which does not conform to the spiritual and moral image of the Lord Jesus.  It's a merciful activity of His heart and hand, although the process often feels keenly painful as He both edifies and eliminates.  In the end, we will greatly appreciate our Heavenly Father's conforming us by not only confirming us, but also correcting us.

"Remove far from me vanity and lies."
(Proverbs 30:8)

Weekly Memory Verse 
    Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Ephesians 6:23)

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