Opinions, everyone has one
My youngest son did a science project to determine whether the information gathered off the Internet or at the library was the better information for research. After doing some checking he found out that the information contained in books at the library was not necessarily factual, but could very well be only someone’s opinions. That was kind of a shock to me. I had always assumed that information obtained out of books was factual.

I learned a lot of things from my parents. I learned by asking questions and by listening when they were talking to someone else. I had complete confidence in my parents and (until I was a teenager, of course) believed everything I heard. I assumed that their opinions were based on facts they had obtained in their lifetime. Their opinions were as good as fact to me and many became my opinions as well.

All the years I sat under pastors and Sunday School teachers I was learning more about God, Jesus, the Bible, and what God wanted me to do. I assumed that they were more knowledgeable than I was about the Bible and took what they said as fact. Their interpretations of the Bible became my interpretations. Many of their opinions became my opinions.

Everyone has taken facts, assumptions, life experiences, and their own personalities and have mixed most of them all into one pot and the resulting information is known as opinion. Sometimes an opinion that begins as an admitted opinion, not based on any factual evidence, gets repeated so many times that it turns into “fact” in the mind of the person who originated the opinion. Other times, the line between fact and opinion gets blurred and the result is passed on as “fact.” There are lots of ways that opinions are formed. We are going to look at our own opinions.

As you can see, it is easy to fill your mind with “fact” that is actually “opinion.” We then, in turn, may be passing our opinions on to others as facts. The world is full of opinion disguised as fact. How do we stop this cycle in our own life? It seems like a formidable task, but it is possible.

One thing that may hinder your ability to separate opinions from facts would be pride. Many people take pride in being knowledgeable and want to be able to know something about everything. Some people feel it is a sign of weakness to say, “I don’t know,” or, “I’m not sure.” I’m not going to deal with the pride issue other than to make you aware of its existence.

It is necessary to examine all information we pass on. We need to be aware of where we got the information. I have found that most things need to be prefaced with, “I read somewhere,” or, “I was told,” or some other explanation that will indicate there is a possibility that the information is not factual.

It is much easier to determine the validity of information about God, Jesus, the Bible, Christianity, and anything else that originates with God. The first step is to be reading the Bible. Notice, I didn’t say to just read the Bible. Reading it through one time is not enough to absorb it. You need to dive in, swim around, bathe in it, meditate on it, do comparative studies of topics, pray about it, and just spend a lot of time in it.

The Bible is the Word of God. It is from God and about God and is written for our benefit. As it says in 2Timothy 3:16, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."

Everything we read in the Bible is good. It is all truth. We can believe everything we read and use it as fact.

"Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever."
Psalm 119:160

"That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us."
Hebrews 6:18

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”
Titus 1:2

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 14:6

Jesus was talking to God and said, “Thy word is truth.”
John 17:1

It is not enough to listen to a preacher read the scripture and tell you what it means. If you haven’t read other parts of the Bible yourself you may find yourself believing something that is not from God. I’m sure you’ve heard the controversies about losing or not losing salvation, speaking in tongues and not speaking in tongues, and many others. God doesn’t want us to be confused on those issues, yet there is a huge amount of controversy regarding them.

It is easy to pick a sentence or a few sentences and make a statement as to what they mean. That is how some controversies start. Someone will pick some scripture and interpret it and then start spreading their interpretation as fact.

The people who believe the Bible teaches you can lose your salvation have a very valid argument. They have a good deal of scripture to back their claims. If you listen to the whole thing you will be firmly convinced that you need to continue renewing your salvation to make sure you will get to heaven. It is a very important thing to know whether or not your salvation is secure, isn’t it? Now, answer this question. Does the security of your salvation lie in man’s opinion or in God’s opinion? So, the thing you need to find out is God’s opinion on the issue and on every other issue.
God gave His opinions to the writers of the books of the Bible. The reason they wrote the books was because God laid it upon their hearts. God gave them the information to write. The confusion begins because each writer wrote using words they personally used and they used examples of things they themselves had experienced in their lifetime. You can see each writer’s personality shining through what they wrote. You know yourself how sometimes something you say can be misinterpreted by someone else. Each person communicates based on their own life experiences.

Then you add the variable of how the reader interprets what they are reading. Each person interprets based on their own life experiences. Confusion is often one of the by-products.

This process does not take God by surprise. He knows how and why we think what we do. He knew that people would misinterpret what He wanted to tell us. That is why there is so much information in the Bible. If we read it we will find many references to the same subject. We will learn more about God’s nature. Many times we can apply God’s nature to a subject and know exactly what He means. The more we read the Bible the more we learn about God. We have to read and read and read the Bible before we can make factual statements about what God will and won’t do and what He does and doesn’t think. We may find that there are certain statements about God that we can never speak with complete assurance. We will always have to preface those statements with, “I feel,” or, “My opinion is.”

Reading our Bibles is not the only way to find out what God wants us to know. We have to communicate with Him on a personal level. We have to get closer to Him and let Him teach us. 1John 2:27 says the Holy Spirit will teach us what we need to know:

“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

God has not stopped communicating with mankind. He did not close His mouth after the Bible was written. He still communicates with us. He is always in us in the form of the Holy Spirit. He is not silent. He is wanting to communicate. Any problems in hearing from Him are on our part.

I have a web page dedicated to teaching about prayer. It is based on Bible studies I did on prayer as well as my own personal experiences. There is more to prayer than asking for things.

I have been praying that my opinions become God’s opinions. Opinions, in themselves, are utterly worthless unless they line up with God’s opinions. Then they become extremely valuable. In order to obtain God’s opinions we have to do some surgery. We need to be able to remove our life experiences from our opinions. We need to remove our prejudices from our opinions. We need to ask God to reveal His opinion. It is a continuous process that needs to be nurtured along. We need to learn how to be in constant contact with God. We need to fill our minds and hearts with God. Once we can do that it will push out the worldly things that contaminate our opinions.

I want to share an example with you of how I was able to let go of an opinion I held and replace it with God’s opinion. It was not easy for me since my opinion had been validated by scripture, by pastors and Sunday School teachers, and by society in general. As far as I was concerned my opinion was already God’s opinion, but I asked Him to reveal His opinion to me, anyway. He did and it surprised me how wrong I had been.

I’m placing that example on a separate page since you may or may not want to read it and because it is a sensitive and controversial subject. You may already have a “good” opinion on it and may not be interested in reading what the Lord revealed to me. Heck, you may not even believe that I heard the Lord correctly. Anyway, the subject is homosexuality and, like I said, is on a separate page. You can read it here.

We have to be very careful when we are teaching others about God, salvation, Jesus, sin, grace, and any other topic that is in the Bible. If we haven’t tuned in to God’s opinion then we are doing nothing but spreading our own worthless opinion. Has God given you the go-ahead to teach what you are teaching? I pray you don't find yourself expecting to hear the Lord tell you, “Well done my good and faithful servant,” and, instead, hear something like, “You caused many of my children to stumble! You allowed satan to use you!”
The Internet is a wonderful thing. It has opened my eyes to things that were outside of the box that had I had built to contain God and His attributes. I had reached a limit of understanding. I had read and re-read the Bible. However, I had been stifling God’s attempts to speak to me. My mind was not open to the fact that God wanted me to be taught by Him personally. I had been in a limited learning environment. I was allowing people to teach me about God rather than allowing God to teach me about Himself! The Internet showed me what God was doing in the lives of others. It threw open the doors of my mind.

I am in constant search for Internet sites that will teach me, encourage me, and edify me. There is a problem, however. There appear to be very few sites that have been inspired by God. Most sites are developed because “the space is there so I need to fill it.” Portions that are dedicated to the Lord are usually full of personal opinion or personal testimony. Many people feel compelled to draw people to their sites so they can convert them to their opinions or so they can fuel their personal need for recognition. I’ve found very few sites that were created because the Lord placed it on the authors’ hearts.

If those people had asked the Lord what He would have them place on the Internet then I would be able to find many sites that will teach, encourage, and edify me. I feel the most pitiful part is knowing that the author is wasting their time on something they feel is work they are doing for the Lord when it isn’t at all what God would have them be doing! Their gifts and talents are being wasted because they didn’t spend the time finding out God’s opinion!

The same thing holds true for many people holding positions in churches. They are there because they feel anything they do for the church is what God would want them to do! They may be holding a position that should be held by someone else. In that case, there is a job in the body that is not being filled since the person is in the wrong place!

God has given each of us specific talents and gifts. They were given to us so we could do a specific job in the body of Christ. We have to find out what it is. If we plug ourselves into a position then we are not effectively serving God or the body. Many people will be very surprised when they come face to face with the Lord and He tells them something like, “You did OK, but you sure missed the boat!” when they are, again, expecting to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

It is easy to be complacent and think that we are in God’s will. The bottom line is that it just plain doesn’t matter what we think. The most important thing is to find out what God thinks!


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