Last Christmas I asked for this copy of the Bible and knew Beloved would get it for me. Since then, I have spent nearly every weekday morning reading at least one chapter along with the accompanying footnotes and assorted articles that go along with that day's reading.
Due to the current events that bombard us daily, I began with the book of Revelation, and then went on to the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, and today I finished the second chapter of Luke. I find this to be a fascinating way to read God's Word. I could read more in a day, but it's good to allow the messages to sink into my mind (also known as meditation).
In reading about Simeon, the man who approached Mary and Joseph at the Temple on the day of the infant Jesus' circumcision, the footnotes said he was "controlled, counseled, and conditioned by the Spirit of God."
I thought about that and wondered just what that meant.
My conclusions were that controlled could mean Simeon was "caught, or brought into submission" by God's Spirit. He was counseled, or "taught" by this same Spirit. And lastly he was conditioned, or "trained" in godliness.
As I pondered those thoughts, I wrote them down in the margin of my Bible. Do you do that? I do it all the time. It's how I learn, my learning style. When I was a little girl, I saw my Daddy using a red pencil to highlight verses in his Bible and began doing the same when I got older.
The word that stuck with me the most was "conditioned." How does God condition, or train me?
Hard experiences. Trial and error. Connecting the dots.
We do what we think is the right thing. If it works out well, we do it that way again.
If it does not work out well, do we do exactly the same thing again, and over and over, expecting better results? This is my husband's definition of insanity, by the way. Or do we tweak the method a little? Sometimes we eventually learn that we need to do the matter entirely different, or scrap the whole project and move on to something else!
God is always training us. This never stops, at least on this side of Heaven anyway. Are we paying attention?
For my part, I want to learn from my experiences and stop being stubborn about it. I want to be like Simeon in Luke chapter 2 who submitted to the call of the Holy Spirt, who listened to the counsel, and then who learned from the conditioning of experience.
How about you?