I have a confession, young sisters. I do not have a very big vocabulary. I know. Someone who is as old as I am should know more big words than just supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I didn’t realize how much of a problem it was until I started to read a book for a class that I am taking. I had a difficult time pronouncing them, let alone knowing what they meant. These words seemed to contain the whole alphabet, plus a few letters I’ve never seen before (okay, well that is an exaggeration)! My kids kindly reminded me to look at the context to understand those big words better. It worked, somewhat. I was able to get the gist of the paragraph.
I finished reading that book satisfied with just getting the gist of it. I was able to answer the questions without understanding every word. It was good enough.
But the thing is, that book is not The Book that I will be judged by one day (Revelation 20:12). It is okay to just get the gist of a secular book because it doesn’t affect my salvation. I don’t really need to know what volition or denigrated mean to obtain my eternal reward. Oh, but you better believe I need to know what lasciviousness and revellings are so I can know to stay away from them because if I do those things, along with the others listed in Galatians 5:19-21, I can not inherit the kingdom of God. I don’t know about you, but I sure do want to inherit that kingdom.
So what do we do? How do we figure out what those words mean that we are going to be judged by?
Young sisters, you are living in a day and age where information is literally at your fingertips. When I was your age, the Internet was not so easily accessible. In order for me to know what those words in Galatians 5 meant I had to ask someone or try to find a book. But in my teenage years, I did neither. I, sadly to say, just settled for the gist of it. Now I know that was wrong. Could I have stood before God and said it was too difficult to understand those big words when He did the difficult thing by watching His Son being beaten and hanged in my place? We have apps and websites like Blue Letter Bible, e-sword, logos, and even Google that can help us to understand those big words. We can’t let those big words keep us out of God’s kingdom. We need to expand our vocabulary.
Once we know and understand those big words, we need to be prepared to tell others, even if it isn’t popular. It is not easy to do the unpopular. It is not pleasant to tell others what those big words mean when they are participating in that activity without knowing it. Believe me, not everyone wants to know big words. They are content with the gist of it. What do we do? Do we simply keep our knowledge to ourselves for fear of being ridiculed? We need to remember that those who do those things listed in Galatians 5 will not inherit God’s kingdom. They will not obtain that heavenly home. May I suggest we adopt Peter and John’s attitude from Acts 4:20? That is where they say “for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” speaking about Christ. No matter how much persecution they faced they were still going to preach and teach Christ.
I want to encourage you to do better than I did understanding those big words. Sometimes big words need a deeper faith to fully understand and obey, but I know you, young sisters, are well equipped for both.
By Kristina Odom