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Woman with two hands full of fruit

One Handful or Two

I have found myself at times chasing many things. And they may have been good things – related to family, ministry, or church life. But as a bit of an over-achiever, I can easily find myself with too much on my plate. I say yes out of enthusiasm to help others, which can result in feeling worn out or depleted.

Ecclesiastes 4:6 says, “Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.”

God asked me one day, “What do you have in your hand?” And when I answered the question honestly, I realised that it was not just one handful that I was carrying, but actually I had both hands full. And my hands were full to overflowing. I was so busy doing things for God that I had been distracted from chasing after God himself.

When I was younger, my Dad used to have a bit of fun when offering us certain foods – such as a slice of cake or slice of cheese. He would ask whether we wanted a one-handed slice or a two-handed slice. Of course, if my friends were around, they would always ask for a two-handed slice – it sounded like it was going to be so much bigger and so much better! But in fact, a two-handed slice was so thin and fragile that it needed to be held with both hands. It would crumble at a moment’s notice. The one-handed slice was the one you really wanted – it was thick and stable and easily held in one hand.

When both our hands are so full of stuff in our lives, it is like that two-handed slice. Life seems like it will be so much better when we have two hands full – but in fact, too much and our lives feel thin and as if things would easily crumble. We end up chasing after the wrong things, and it takes all of our energy to ensure that things don’t fall apart. But we don’t want to drop the ball or let people down, so we keep straining to juggle our many responsibilities. As a result, our life feels unstable and uncertain.

When I chase after many things that are not in God’s plan, I lose my tranquillity. I forfeit that inner state of being calm and settled. I end up toiling and working so hard I lose my joy. And if we are honest, amidst the many good things in our lives, we can end up a slave to what seem to be good things. But too many seemingly good things are not always right if they are not in God’s plan.

Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Jesus teaches us not to worry about tomorrow, and to seek Him first. God’s ways are always higher than our ways. If we stick to one handful of the things in life, we have the other hand free – to hold God’s hand. To allow Him to lead and guide us. To ensure that we have the margin and space in our day to hear His voice and be led by His Spirit. With one hand full, our lives are stable and secure in Him. And with just one hand full, we also have the other hand free to help others along the way as He directs.

So, allow Father to speak into what you have in your hands. Don’t get caught up in meaningless toil – live your life with one handful, not two.

Philippians 1:6 (The Living Bible) “And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.”

woman humbly sitting on a rock

Humility and Righteousness

What is the connection between our humility and our righteousness? Let’s look at the life of Jesus.

Matthew 3:13-15 says, Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptised by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptised by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

The Eternal Word and Son of God came to his natural cousin to be baptised. What a picture of humility!  John understandably kicked back against this because he knew that Jesus was far greater than who he was. John had received a revelation that his cousin was the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. But Jesus knew that this was His Father’s will; that this needed to be done to fulfil all righteousness.

For each of us, humility declares “I am not good enough in and of myself. I need God.” For all of us, humility is an essential doorway to walk through and lifestyle to live if we are going to truly walk with God.

For Jesus, humility was a little different because He was good enough; He was sinless, and therefore, He was perfect. For Jesus, humility was putting aside His will, His desires and His rights for the sake of His Father’s will to be done. For us, this is also an essential element to humility; a submission of our will to our Father’s will. But how is humility connected to righteousness?

The word ‘righteousness’ means ‘a condition acceptable to God, the state of being as we ought to be’ (Strong’s g1343). Jesus knew that being baptised by His cousin John was His Father’s will. Therefore, submitting to His will and doing what His Father said was an expression of His righteousness.

Now let’s lean back into the fact that Jesus was baptised by His natural cousin, and combine it with the following statement by Jesus in Mark 6:4: But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”

Jesus knew that people often miss God speaking and moving due to over-familiarity with the vessel through whom God is speaking and ministering. This happened continually with Jesus. And this is why it is so powerful that Jesus was baptised by His natural cousin John. Jesus saw John as His Father saw John, not just how His natural childhood experiences saw him. John also saw Jesus as He was, not just as His cousin. This shows the humility of John too.

Is there someone in your family or in your close friends that is Father’s intended vessel to speak to you and minister to you? Are you missing out on Father’s will because you see “them” as “just them”?

Humility is needed for all righteousness to be fulfilled in our lives. It was true of Jesus. It was true of John. It is true for all of us.

Woman with bible seeking God's revelation

Divine Revelation

Where do we get our interpretation of the Word of God from? Is it divine revelation, or is it our own opinions and ideas? It is important to have a correct definition of interpretation and to realign to what God authors.

“What is your interpretation of this verse?” to most people would mean “What do you think this verse means?”

But this is not what the word ‘interpretation’ means.

‘Interpretation’ from the Oxford Dictionary is defined as:

  • The action of explaining the meaning of something.
  • An explanation or way of explaining.
  • A stylistic representation of a creative work or dramatic role.

‘Interpretation’ from the Oxford Thesaurus is defined as:

  • ‘the interpretation and application of the Bible’s teaching’.
    • explanation, elucidation, expounding, exposition, explication, exegesis, clarification, definition
    • simplification

Other words we see are: ‘meaning, analysis, decoding, translation, transliteration, and paraphrase’.

Here is the bottom line truth about ‘interpretation’:

‘Interpretation’ is about ‘our explanation’, it is not about ‘out opinion’.

Let me put it this way: If it’s not accurate to the original intention, it’s not an interpretation, it’s a distortion!

2 Timothy 2:15 says, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

We have substituted ‘Handle the Word of God correctly’ with ‘Interpret the Word of God as seems best to you’. Interpretation that comes from divine revelation is accurate because the Source is God. Interpretation that does not come from divine revelation is dangerous and erroneous because the source is us. We cannot handle the Word of God correctly outside of divine revelation from our Father in heaven. Our application is aligned to our interpretation, and this is why it must be founded in divine revelation.

We do what we believe, therefore, if our belief is incorrect, our doing will be incorrect. Trying to change what we do without changing what we believe will result in ongoing frustration and disappointment. True freedom is connected to right believing, and right believing is connected to divine revelation, not natural interpretation.

John 8:31-32 states, To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

I fear too many Christians are coming up with their version of truth, and it can never lead to lasting freedom. Only God’s version of the truth can result in true freedom.

We must seek the truth.

We must pursue the truth.

We must deeply desire the truth.

We must position ourselves to receive the truth.

God may say different things, to different people, from the same scripture, but He will never contradict Himself from the same scripture.

It’s time to know THE TRUTH and to get our interpretation from divine revelation.