August 31, 2010
Secret Decoder Ring
"You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not." Matthew 13:11 (NLT)
Did you catch that gem of a revelation in today's key verse? Jesus said there are secrets in the Kingdom of God.
I don't know about you but I have a hard time resisting secrets - especially God-sized secrets. So when I discovered this verse, I immediately wanted to know more. Don't you?
What secrets might God share with me? What secrets will He reveal to you?
To be perfectly honest, for years much of the Bible seemed like a giant secret I wasn't privy to. I just didn't get parts of it—many parts of it. Was I one of those "others" who hadn't been permitted to understand? I wondered. I suspected maybe if I went to seminary or became a nun, I could get a secret decoder ring and suddenly my Bible would make sense to me.
I just wasn't sure this average, everyday gal could ever figure it out all by herself. Turns out, I was right.
Today's verse starts a passage every woman needs to hear:
"You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them. That is why I tell these stories, because people see what I do, but they don't really see. They hear what I say, but they don't really hear, and they don't understand." (Matthew 13:11-13, NLT)
According to Jesus, God grants us the ability to recognize Kingdom truths. Jesus promises if we are truly open to His teachings, He will help us understand spiritual realities. Therefore, it's not up to you or me to figure out the mysteries of God or the deep truths of the Bible with our own perception. No need to spend your days in seclusion, or your money on an advanced degree. Jesus is our secret decoder ring!
And we can wear it proudly because no ring shines brighter than He does! Peter, James, and John, three of Jesus' disciples, witnessed His astounding brilliance—His sparkling glory—when He took them to a secluded spot on a mountain top. "As the men watched, Jesus' appearance changed, and his clothing became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly process could ever make it" (Mark 9:2-3, NLT). Suddenly a cloud came over them and "a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him'" (Mark 9:7, NLT).
God never hides truth from sincere seekers. In fact, He came to earth in the person of Jesus to ensure that we'd learn His secrets and understand His ways. Our task is to open ourselves—ears, eyes, and heart—and listen intently to Him. To concentrate and apply ourselves to the process of prayerfully reading the Bible.
So, when I don't understand something I read in scripture, I look to Jesus. I ask Jesus to help me understand. I consider the example He set while here on earth - found in the gospels - and then I read the perplexing chapter or verses again in light of that. I ask His Holy Spirit to guide me into all spiritual truth. And I've been amazed by what I've found.
I won't say that I now understand everything in my Bible cover-to-cover, but I have discovered some truly empowering secrets to life in God's Kingdom. And I trust more revelation is to come, simply because Jesus said it would. He promised an abundance of knowledge to those who listen.
It's easy to miss the full impact of the first dozen words of today's key verse and zero in on the last four: "You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not." Don't make that mistake. Don't assume you'll never "get it." If you are a follower of Christ, listening to Him with your heart, He will reveal to you victorious secrets for life in His Kingdom. Open your eyes to Him. Open your ears to Him. Open your heart to Him, and dig into His Word. Pray for revelation and understanding.
And be ready to record the amazing things He reveals as you do.
Dear Lord, I willingly and eagerly open my eyes, ears and heart to You today. Cleanse me and speak to me through Your Word, I pray. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
This devotion is based on the opening of Rachel's new book It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Needs to Know. Be the first to order your copy today!
Interested in learning the secrets Rachel discovered? Want to win a copy of her new book It's No Secret? Follow the link to her blog at www.RachelOlsen.com and read the book's opening, first chapter and Bible study. Click here.
Listen as you read the Bible today.
Consider getting Rachel's new book It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Needs to Know. Each chapter covers a different "secret," ending with a Bible study section giving you the opportunity to dig into God's Word for yourself.
Do I avoid reading the Bible because I've struggled to understand it?
What does Jesus say in Mark 13:11-13? Read it out loud.
Colossians 2:2-3, "I want them to be strengthened and joined together with love so that they may be rich in their understanding. This leads to their knowing fully God's secret, that is, Christ himself. In him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are safely kept." (NCV)
© 2010 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 31 August 2010.