The Freedom to Speak – Part 5

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Concerning little ones and the articles and studies found on Faith and Conviction.

Faith and Conviction’s Concern
It is of utmost concern to me that little ones not be offended by the manner in which I speak or write. This is why my aim is to have a respectful tone, having respect and, if God permits, one of the best tones, yet having engaging dialogue that allows meditations, studies, and thoughts that investigate long held beliefs. The idea is not to destroy beliefs but to uphold them.

As a precaution, I advise that if someone feels a topic too challenging then turn away. It is not imperative for every person to read every article. It is imperative for every person to grow wherever they are. Since I do not have the ability to assess every person’s spiritual acumen prior to publishing, it is, therefore, up to the reader to assess their own personal and individual spiritual strength by being prayerfully self-meditative and self-reflective.

This indicates that just because there are those who might find the material challenging, does not automatically follow that all people will find it challenging. From my own personal experience, I can recall times when I thought others were heretical and a sinner because of their considerations. Yet, God has allowed me to mature and see things, I will carefully use the phrase, more maturely.

One should not take that to mean that I am always correct in my interpretation, but it does mean that I will not judge another because of their interpretation. To take a concept from Jesus and apply it to my ministry, “if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not” (John 12.47). It is not my place to judge another’s interpretation, but it does seem necessary that interpretation and then subsequent application must be both coherent and consistent.

Jesus’ Concern
Was Jesus concerned with “little ones”? Absolutely. Did his concern for a little one’s faith constrain him from challenging everyone to greater faith? Absolutely not.

There are many things that Jesus said that seem hard to understand, as the first disciples recognized when they asked Jesus why he used parables (Matthew 13.10). There are many things that Jesus taught that challenge the very essence of one’s individual faith like loving your enemies (Matthew 5.44). But this is no different than God challenging the people through the teachings of Moses, or God challenging the people through the works of the prophets. God and Jesus are ultimately concerned with the well being of little ones, but neither desires the little one to remain little. God, Moses, the Prophets, Jesus, the Apostles, the Holy Spirit all desire and expect little ones to mature.

Am I then claiming that I am not a little one? No. In some things, perhaps many, I am a little one; I just no longer desire to remain such. And as such, I expect much from myself and share this with others. In moving forward, concern is there for a little one, but fear of moving forward is not.

There are so many things that could stop us from engaging in dialogue, stop us from investigating whether or not we really understand. But we should not fear. We should not fear the unknown. We should not fear being wrong. We should not fear being corrected. We should not fear maturing.

God’s Concern
Fear seems to be a common element to humanity. We fear many things. And each person can fear something different that another. The following passages have God reassure people to not fear. To the side of each passage, I have provided a summary of what I believe the passage wants humanity to not fear.

Matthew 1.20 – Do not fear challenges to relationships
Matthew 10.26 – Do not fear the judgment of others
Matthew 10.28 – Do not fear death
Matthew 10.31 – Do not fear you as a person have value
Matthew 28.5 – Do not fear the arrival of another in your life

Luke 1.13 – Do not fear God’s messenger
Luke 1.30 – Do not fear the unknown
Luke 2.10 – Do not fear God’s messenger
Luke 5.10 – Do not fear spiritual growth
Luke 8.50 – Do not fear appearances
Luke 12.7 – Do not fear you as a person have value
Luke 12.32 – Do not fear God will provide

2 Timothy 1.7 – God does not give a spirit of fear
1 John 4.18 – Mature love casts out fear

Joshua 1.6 – Be strong and have good courage
Joshua 1.7 – Be strong and very courageous
Joshua 1.9 – Be strong and have good courage; do not fear; do not be dismayed

Conclusion
From Joshua to Jesus, from Paul to John, God reassures his children to have no fear. It is important for us to recognize that Joshua 1.5-9 teaches that mediation upon God’s Word allows success, but that success comes at the cost of being strong, being courageous, not fearing nor being dismayed where God leads – interesting and intriguing Scriptural truths await.

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