Topic: We Think Too Much!
11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit (Mark 13:11)
Ever looked back at a situation or conversation and thought, “Man! I should’ve said this, or did that?”. We can come up with some pretty clever “stuff” sometimes. We can be crafty, sinister and even contemplate retribution!
I have in the past, been so driven to create my own form of justice, that it will consume me and I will actually go so far as to be proud of myself. I will justify to the ends of the earth that I am right and “they” are wrong. Each time we do that, it seems to inevitably evolve into ANGER and resentment, guilt – and really, an overall bad feeling inside of us. This is definitely a trigger in my struggle with alcoholism.
The confidence (or maybe slight reassurance) we feel when we “re-play” the situations and fire back in the air – is provided to us by the devil himself. Shouldn’t we realize that the Devil is establishing his foothold? We are not only “playing God”, but wasting valuable time and energy at playing something we are not – God.
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. (Ephesians 4:25-28)
First, I think we have to take the “30-second rule”. This rule is what my better half came up with after she figured out that I invariably jump to conclusions when faced with something that doesn’t go my way. Funny, in the verse above, it explains that it IS okay for me to be angry, however, NOT okay for me to sin because of it. If I sin, (or even contemplate it) I have given the opportunity to the devil that he is looking for. During those 30 seconds, while the devil is tempting, taunting, and agitating us, we must turn our thoughts back to God. He is standing there waiting for us to do so.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)
9 But the LordGod called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
We played out a scenario this morning that originated on Facebook (of course!). There is a posting going around that shows a picture of a popular television evangelist and his home.
Not utilizing the 30-second rule, each of our instincts after looking at this picture was negative at best. Each of us said things like: “How could he be so arrogant?”, or “He’s a hypocrite!”, and “I will never listen to him again!”, “That money could help so many people”, and so on. We instantly judged this man because of his possessions. We fell into the devil’s trap – his foothold. We spent roughly 15 minutes being God and we got pretty “hot” on this topic while doing so! The devil was laughing at us.
The bible says to guard your heart. God made us in His image. When we played God in the above example, we did not guard our heart. We gave in to the foothold that the devil wanted us to (like grabbing the fruit off the tree in Eden).
Suppose we re-play the scenario using the 30-second rule and instruction from God’s word. Here’s how that may look:
We are envious of his house and the money he has and shouldn’t be – wouldn’t we want those things too? Even Job and Solomon had a massive inventory of belongings. We really don’t know how many people he has or has not helped. We do not know the purpose that God has for him. We took a look at the bible and saw the example of Jesus and the righteous rich man;
20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:20-21)
If Jesus Himself asked this very question to the Evangelist in the example, do we know what his answer would be? God does. We don’t, so why do we waste so much time and energy? I’m as guilty as anyone of doing this.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:23-27)
We must guard our own hearts and look straight ahead. We must listen to God when He calls us and turn away from the foothold of the devil.
We played out a few other interesting scenarios, like in-laws opinions of our lives, and they all played out similarly. Think about it (but not too much) and have a great Saturday! Feel free to comment!
Today’s verse to “chew on”:
3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.