We trust Merriam-Webster to give us true definitions of unfamiliar words. Here is some background info on Mr’s Merriam and Mr Webster.
Merriam–Webster, Incorporated, is an American company that publishes reference books, especially known for its dictionaries. In 1828, George and Charles Merriam founded the company as G & C Merriam Co. in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1843, after Noah Webster died, the company bought the rights to An American Dictionary of the English Language from Webster’s estate. All Merriam–Webster dictionaries trace their lineage to this source.
What else do we know about both the Mr Merriams and Mr Webster without further research on any of them? They were born and died, had a beginning and an end. Since they were human, they were imperfect.
God has neither beginning nor end. He is the alpha and omega. He is completely perfect and perfectly complete. We can be certain (verily, verily?) that, unlike every book ever written by man—which, of course, would be every book—that written by God, the Bible, is truth. So, for the Great Author of Life to precede a statement, already the utmost truth, with even one “verily” must mean we should pay extra attention to what follows. But what about when He precedes it with two?
Since I generally stick with the NIV, NLT, or CSB, I don’t encounter “verily, verily” often when studying. The verse in the picture above in CSB reads “43 And he said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Another translation I discovered recently on my phone, The Passion Translation, says “3 Jesus responded, “I promise you—this very day you will enter paradise with me.” Jesus didn’t just tell the thief this—that would have been enough—this time he promised.
So when God speaks the same thing to me through more than one source, I tend to treat that as a verily, verily. Or, as was the case with the thief on the cross, a Rhema word from God.
All that to preface this occurrence which happened a few days ago
Verify #1: I’d completed the online homework assignment for my Bible study and gone on to Bible reading. Today, I read out of the NLT, and I was in Matthew.
My homework assignment was to journal about how comparing myself to others hindered my relationship with God and His purpose for my life. Although this Bible study focuses on weight and body image issues, I was easily able to come up with several other areas where this could apply and jotted them down as well. These included:
- Method and character of prayer.
- Method and character of worship.
- Shyness (method and character of fellowship).
- Lack of pride in appearance.
- Ability or even desire to have an immaculate house.
- Poverty mentality (compared to peers).
Some of these are absolutely unbelievable, right? Take a look at the first two!
Yet I have allowed the enemy, oftentimes through well-meaning Christians, yes, even leaders in the church, to put these on me. The fact that I even put my mind to any of these indicates a lack of understanding of the truth of God’s love and my willingness to embrace the lies of the enemy.
What about you? Have you believed and internalized into your very being words that do not line up with The Word and, as a result, done yourself harm? Take a look at this:
Verily #2: Matthew chapter 15, verses 8-11 (underlining done by me):
“8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”
10 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 11 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.””
These verses offer a succinct contrast of lips/mouth and heart. Unless we have some kind of gastric illness, what comes out of our mouths does not come from our stomachs; it comes from our hearts.
What goes into our stomachs–“bad” and “good” foods by man’s definitions–does not make us “bad” or “good” in God’s eyes. In fact, we are neither “bad” nor “good” in His eyes. It is impossible to be “good enough”.
We are either covered by the blood or Jesus or we are not.
Thank you, Abba, for your verily, verily unto me.