I Receive, Therefore I Am

“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)<

When Rene Descartes said “I think, therefore I am” (ITTIA), he poignantly summarized the great human tragedy that we think the universe is what we make of it by the exercise of our own brains’ functions. More than 350 years have passed since the utterance ITTIA was spoken, yet these five words are more and more ingrained in our human condition even as we moved to a postmodern age. But worse, Christians buy into this also, often unknowingly.

ITTIA is particularly a problem with how some Christians read the Bible. We make observations in the Bible, try to figure the patterns and the curious stuff, work it all out like a puzzle, and deduce conclusions from all of it. Viola! And I have created a “version of the truth” for me!

True living comes from “receiving” what God gives us, not creating our own version of reality. True knowledge of God comes from “receiving” God’s word and God’s presence, not creating our own version of God.

Acts 17:11 says of the Bereans: “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” The reason we have to read the Bible again and again and all over again is not because we didn’t finish reading it; the reason is we haven’t fully received God’s word into all the areas of our lives. Indeed, Colossians 2:6 says: “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”

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2 thoughts on “I Receive, Therefore I Am

  1. I think what you said is good for you have pinpointed the worst nightmare that has ever happened to the Church. Descartes has relocated the “I am” from the revealed God (Exodus 3:14) unto ourselves. Descartes’ is one key example of the philosophy of the Enlightenment that forever plagued our world. Our only hope is in the God who has given Himself to us and has reached out to us while we are still in our filths. We can’t even properly call ourselves “worms” anymore (check out the older hymns). ;) However, since we have to maintain our own posture before this world and have forgotten the humiliation of Christ is a proper model for our self-denial, it will take a lot of effort to turn back the clock. And in this, even keep reading the Bible may not help as long as we are still reading it in the light of our understanding of what it should say. Of course, the Spirit can send light that pierces the darkness so that we may overcome the conditions set by our cultures. Rather than keep reading it, I would also recommend reading the Scripture with the Saints of the previous ages, we can gain insight and undermine our own “I am” by reading the Scripture along with brothers and sisters in other cultures/traditions. This will help us to receive the “I am” to the True I Am of All Ages.

    Now the question is: what can protect us from going crazy?

  2. wow, thx for another great sharing!! =)

    our pastor(who helped translated the new version chinese from original Hebrew) said that all scriptures from Bible usually only have ONE meaning, and the meaning should be very straight forward, unless it says so otherwise(eg. Jesus’s parables).  It’s usually easy to mis-interpret the scripture’s original meaning if we just interpret is anyway we want without knowing the original contexts/background/etc.  we CAN, however, apply the scriptures to our lives if possible, but they should never be confused with the Word of God Itself.

    another reason for us to read Bible everyday is to get to know God Himself more and more everyday , also know more about what He likes, what He dislikes, what are His commands, etc :-)

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