Thought about Ought

April 18, 2011 at 9:53 am | Posted in Luke, Uncategorized | 12 Comments
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And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Luke 18:1

Could such a short, simple Verse really teach us much about the great Biblical principle of prayer? You might be surprised. In fact, let’s focus in for a moment on just one word in that Verse: “ought.”

The word “ought,” like so many Bible words, goes deeper than we can ever fathom. For example, there is the “ought” that tells us something is a good idea. “I ought to take my umbrella today. It might rain.”

The concept that men should pray is one of the best ideas that God has given us. If you received some gadget, and weren’t sure exactly how it worked or what to do with it, the one person who would be most helpful to you is the person who invented, designed, and built the gadget. God is the Creator, Designer, and Builder, not only of you and me, but of everything that exists. And prayer is the way we talk to Him.

The word “ought” can also carry the connotation of a warning. “You ought not to mess with that dog,” said the owner of the snarling Rottweiler to the little boy.

For people to go through their day, arrogantly thinking they have the knowledge to make it through life’s trials, temptations, and testing, without consistently looking upward in prayer, is extremely dangerous. Whether you know it or not, you need the wisdom of God to keep from making a train wreck of your life. Prayer is how we ask God for wisdom.

There is also the “ought” of command. An employer might tell his custodial staff, “You ought to keep this area clean every day.”

The Bible says to pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:17) This is a command from God. It does not mean that Christians should wander around in an oblivious state of hazy mumbling.

But it does mean that Christians should always be in an attitude of prayer, ready to call upon the Lord and seek His will, or to confess sin at the drop of a hat. We should also make sure that we have a serious “quiet time” of conversational communion with God on a consistent and frequent basis.

Christ said that the opposite of “always praying” is “fainting:” getting weary and giving up. As men and women of God, if we fail to “come apart” (get alone with God in prayer), we will surely “come apart” (fall to pieces).


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  1. Your analogy about the boy and the highway was quite ridiculous.

    A highway poses a THREAT. People’s religious choices do not.

    The Bible was written 2,000 years ago and needs to be considered a collection of writings from the perspective of an ancient culture and civilization. Not only that, but the book itself wasn’t assembled until hundreds of years AFTER the actual originals were recorded. It’s beyond ludicrous to believe that you need to spiritually tackle people away from ‘hell’ all based on these writings. Whether or not you consider them holy does not mean you need to sacrifice logic for blind faith.

    By your logic, God created you. You have a brain. Did God make that brain so you could just throw it out the window as soon as you read something you interpret to be God’s “divine” word?

  2. Paul: I am directing anyone who is interested in seeing what you are talking about here: so they can see the original post you are referencing. You may want to reconsider your understanding of “logic.” When you say that people’s religious choices do not pose a threat, you are forgetting the folks who died as a result of religious terrorists flying planes into the World Trade Center. People’s religious choices are WAY more dangerous than a busy highway.

    The Bible was assembled after the original “Books” were written, but that assembling was a recognition of the truth that, even prior to formal assembly, these Books were known to be the Word of God.

    Furthermore, saying that the Bible “needs” to be considered a set of writings from the perspective of an ancient culture is your opinion. There is no objective logic that places such a “need” on it. If God, as you suggest, could have created something as complex as the human brain, it is not at all illogical to believe that He used human instruments to write down divine revelation that would be applicable in all times, even thousands of years later. You may not like the fact that He did it, and you may even disagree that it’s a fact, but you can not logically call it illogical.

    God did not make our brains so that they could be thrown out, as you suggest. He made them to know, love, enjoy, and obey Him – our Creator. Sin warped and perverted our thinking and caused us to hate Him and His revelation. His response was love and redemption in Christ Jesus. By knowing Him we do not “remove” our brains, we “renew” our brains. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

    Now, you may consider it “beyond ludicrous” to think that people who deny the Truth of God’s Word need to be tackled to prevent them from heading for damnation, but what I consider ludicrous for those who believe hell is real is to NOT try to stop people from going there. I have no way of knowing if the lake of fire is your eternal destination, but you may now consider yourself “tackled.” Sadly, I am unable to hold you down indefinitely, but because I care about you, I will tell you that it will be your choice whether you will now get up, get angry, dust yourself off, and begin heading for the highway again – OR whether you will earnestly consider whether you have been created by a Creator Who has the right, power, and authority to judge you for your sins against Him. If that is a possibility in your mind, you owe it to yourself to determine what He has said about you in His revealed Word, and what can be done to receive His forgiveness.

  3. Well, I guess you can keep waiting for judgement day. John the baptist said it was coming soon, Jesus said it was coming soon, Paul said it was coming soon, etc. That was 2,000 years ago. Some of the most important people in your religion already proved to be incorrect.

  4. I assume by “judgment day” you mean the return of Jesus Christ for His Church and the subsequent final judgment of all mankind. John the Baptist said that the Kingdom of God was at hand, and he was proved to be right. Jesus Christ came and inaugurated the Kingdom here on earth right after John said that. As far as Jesus and Paul saying that we need to be prepared and to live as though Christ’s return could happen at any moment, this has not been proved to be incorrect. If you are not a Christian, I assume that you believe the earth is billions of years old. How odd that you would consider the passing of 2000 years (a drop in the bucket of those billions) to fall short of “soon.” Furthermore, the God Who made you is eternal and infinite. He is not bound to consider time in the finite way we view it. “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (II Peter 3:8) I understand your concern about “judgment day,” though. The thought of it frightens people who know deep down that there is a possibility that they are the ones who will be judged. You should be thankful that the Lord has held off this long. The reason for the delay just might be you. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9)

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