A few years ago when we were living in a community of cluster homes back in California, I was concerned that our dog’s barking might be disturbing to our neighbors. In discussing this with one of our daughters one day, she told me of the bark alarm that they had purchased due to the same concern over their two dogs. They had actually received a few complaints but since they got the alarm everybody seemed to be happy. So with that in mind I also bought a “Bark Free” system. The alarm is activated by the dog’s bark and has two operating modes. One is silent to humans and the other lowers the tone emitted so as to be heard by people.
I thought about the doggie anti-barking alarm this morning as I meditated once more on Philippians 4:7. The idea of a sound that can be heard by the dog’s sharper hearing while being quiet to people caught my attention. Philippians 4:7 talks about “God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding (which) will keep your hearts and minds safe in (your) union with Christ Jesus.” (Good News Bible) The King James Bible defines God’s peace as something that “passeth understanding.” For some reason I felt led to look up the Greek inference of “passeth” and in doing so discovered an interesting line of thought.
Both Thayer’s and Strong’s say that it actually means “to hold oneself above.” What stood out to me was the idea that this is something that we the believers need to do. It seems that the Apostle Paul is telling us that we have the responsibility to keep our minds free from the confines of our natural understanding and up in the realm of His unlimited, boundless possibilities and might!
It also gave me an instant revelation to why two people can hear the exact same thing and come away with two completely different conclusions. It also explained how some individuals only hear certain parts of a conversation. Someone who is stuck within the walls of their natural understanding has nothing to relate to the spiritual aspects that are shared and can easily forget that part of the conversation. I’ve had that happen to me, have you?
There have been times when discussing a former conversation with another person that I’ll scratch my head and think either, that’s not all that I said, or that’s not at all what I meant. Sound familiar? My next thought was wondering what the solution was. My first response was to rationalize that the best thing to do was to be very selective of my words and just not go into certain subjects… just like I did with some relatives back in California… and in looking back, I can see that this approach really did nothing to help the situation as the uncomfortable discussions with them still continue and nothing seems to have changed!
As I prayed about this, I began to hear a different approach coming from inside me. I felt the Lord saying to be “gentle and kind” (ie; Philippians 4:5 ERV) and take the time to explain without any perceived criticism, complaint or smugness on my behalf! Then He reminded me of our new Pastor’s and how they explained a few spiritual doctrines a couple of Sunday’s ago. In their discussions they always took the time to gently and clearly explain the what, why’s and how’s, not taking for granted that everyone was necessarily on the same page with them. They wanted to assure that everyone in the congregation was understanding what they were trying to convey.
So I learned something important this morning and set a new resolve to work by clarifying where I am coming from when I make statements, and not just assume that whoever I am talking with has the same point of reference. Does that make any sense to you? This may take a little more time and patience, but it will definitely help to keep peace and rest with everyone involved in our conversations each day. And even if others do not agree with you, at least they will have a greater understanding of why you said what you did. This type of conversation closes the communication loop and leads to more productive and peaceful relationships.
So give it a try this week. Take a moment or two extra and make an effort to clearly define what you mean when you speak with others. I think that this would fit into the plan of Godly love and it may also open up a whole new realm of possibilities to others and give them a desire to seek the things that are above the natural level of one’s understanding. Have a great week. Stay in tune and within the realm of His boundless understanding… and keep asking yourself… “What or Whose level of understanding am I keeping myself in today?”