I’ve wanted to write this post for a week, but I keep getting stuck to the point that I would just have to put my computer up. Finally, I think, I am able to push through and do it.
Someone I know wrote a rant on Facebook this week. I’m not judging. I’ve done it before and I’m afraid that I will again.
What happened was that this person felt wronged in business situation. They wanted to make sure that all of their family and friends knew about it so that they would not patronize this business.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for me. I’m the guy who wants to jump on the grass when I see a keep off the grass sign. I see a wet paint sign? I’m touching. However, that isn’t really what this post is about.
The big problem I see is that this person reacted to their wrong or, perhaps, their perceived wrong. They went off on the internet to make sure that the one who wronged them felt their wrath.
What if, instead, they had responded?
What’s the difference?
Reacting seems to always involve negative feelings. It’s a defensive situation. It make you feel good in the short time, but eventually that feeling fails to really satisfy.
Responding, however, tries to make a bad situation into the best one possible. It doesn’t seek the demise or worst for the others in the situation.
Really, when it comes down to it, it’s the difference in following what we call the Golden Rule or not. Seeking what you want for others what you would want for yourself is tough. It isn’t natural. It isn’t what we want to do. Trust me, I’ve failed it more often than not.
There’s another way of looking at it that I think can be applied. Zig Ziglar says that if you help enough other people get what they want, you will get everything you want. I think that is one of the best applications of what Jesus said.
Instead of reacting negatively, let’s respond positively.
Instead of doing unto others as they have done, do as you want to be done.
Treat others as you want to be treated, not as you have been.
Help others get what they want. You will end up getting what you want.
Sow sparingly and you will reap sparingly. Sow bountifully and you reap bountifully.
Let’s seek out the positive in all situations instead of seeking out the negative. I think we will find that life will be a lot happier and more joyful as we go.
I’ve been thinking about the Golden Rule lately. Not really sure why, except that I have been thinking about ways to apply it to my life. So, I think these are ways that others can apply it as well.
One way I’ve been thinking about is politics. If you haven’t noticed, we are in an election year. Soon there will be a new president-elect in the old U.S. of A. So, I’ve been thinking about how the Golden Rule applies to my voting choice.
Now, you may be wondering what the Golden Rule has to do with voting for president? Here is how I’ve been thinking about it. Would I want the person I’m voting for to be the president for everyone? Most people usually look at it as how it will affect themselves. What if everyone really took the view of it would be best for everyone else to have this person as president. You throw out your past party affiliations. You throw out what you like in a candidate and really dig down and ask, “Would I want to do this to someone else? Would I want to elect this person, not for my own sake, but for the sake of my family and neighbors?”
Another way to apply the Golden Rule is much broader. It takes some hard work on your part. Are you on the lookout for the good for everyone? I miss this more often than I get it right, but I might have actually done it recently. I know someone who is a deer hunter. I heard about a website that has well produced, television quality videos for deer hunters. It’s not just like the hunting shows on TV. It actually goes into deer management and explores deeper issues. I texted my friend the website so that he would have it available. I got nothing out of it. Or did I? I would want him to do the same for me. If he knows me well enough, I would want him to pass along something similar.
We really try to make living this Christian life hard sometimes. We look for BIG ways to do Godly things in our lives and for the benefit of others. Instead, maybe it’s just doing the normal things of life in a Godly way. That’s what I’m hoping to do going forward.
There are reams and reams of paper used to write books on how Christians to live lives that follow Jesus. Rarely, though, is there anything that as simple as what we actually find in the Bible. Paul gave us three good pieces of advice in 1 Thessalonians that too few of us actually heed.
1. Live Quiet Lives
One could probably write an entire post about this. In today’s world filled with social media, it is easy to live a noisy life clamoring for attention. Few of us are immune to this. Many of us need to take this piece to heart and spend some time that is focused outwardly, putting the spotlight on others. Give others credit and point toward the Lord instead of ourselves.
2. Mind Your Own Business
What would happen if we took this one to heart? Instead of getting involved in every controversy, what if we truly focused on making our own lives better? What would the world look like?
When I was a kid, I worked on farms located around me during the summer. I hauled hay and worked in tobacco. When I turned 16, I went to work in a grocery store and had another part-time job watering plants at my church during a dry summer. Plus, I still had to mow the yard and do chores around the house. God expects us to work. He does not expect us to live entitled lives. One time my dad’s job went on strike. He used that time to work around the place and even thought about finding work to do that would bring in income.
Why should we do these things? What benefit is there to them?
So that we “may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on on one.” These are three keys to living the kind of life that God ordains for us. Instead of looking for some magic bullet, let’s do what God’s word tells us to do.
If you haven’t noticed lately, some don’t think America is great anymore.
The solution for some is to protest, though their freedom to do so proves the point is moot.
Others seek to make America great again by running for office.
What about those of us who follow Christ? What are we to think and do? I think we can find some clues in Mark 4.
Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed. It’s small, but grows into a 15 foot bush. So big, in fact, that the bird see the comfort of its shade.
Jesus, it seems, doesn’t focus on earthly kingdoms. His concern is for His Father’s kingdom.
Where do the birds turn for rest? The kingdom. Not the nations of the world, but God’s kingdom.
America isn’t great? Seek the kingdom of God.
America’s great again? Seek a kingdom that puts it to shame.
The birds seek the shade of the kingdom. May we follow the birds’ lead.
I mentioned yesterday that I tweeted recently that we are called to make disciples, not music. I mentioned that my expanded view is that we are really called to glorify God and that can come by making music or disciples. Today, I want to follow-up up a bit on that.
I once had a conversation with a family member who said that they would be happy if church services were only comprised of music. I just kind of shook my head, but realized that I was not that far from that view. I would be happy if church services were only made up of preaching. That’s just how I’m wired and geared.
We were both wrong.
Imagine if that actually took place. We would have churches full of people who were there only to hear preaching. Other would just be full of singing. Others might pray the entire service. Still others might take an offering…..and then what?
I’ll tell you. We would all miss out on different ways to worship. We would miss out on the various types of people. We would also miss out on the variety of gifts within the church.
Mostly we would miss out on being part of the Body of Christ. Arms don’t exist alone. Neither do legs, knees, throats, mouths and you think of a body part.
I don’t like all parts of church services. That may sound like sacrilege, but I’m just trying to be real. That doesn’t mean that I don’t see the benefit of the things I am not naturally inclined toward. Those things help connect me to other members of the Body. They help connect me to Christ. They help me maximize who I am in the entire Body of Christ.
I’m sure you’ve seen the title of this post before. It came into the national conversation during the Vietnam War, back when I was barely a glimmer in anyone’s eye.
The thing about this statement is that it is saying that these two things are mutually exclusive. It’s as though one cannot hold love and war in their life at the same time. I’m not going to speak for everyone, but I don’t really think that to be the case.
I feel the same way about something I tweeted the other day. My tweet was some like this:
We are not called to make music, but to make disciples.
I felt pretty proud of myself after sharing this on the Twitter. Here is the funny thing. I got several likes when it made its way to Facebook. However, I got some push back on Twitter.
The push back came because someone took exception to it. They said THE way to discipleship is through making music, mainly because that is how it happened for them.
Sorry, but I can’t buy that one either. But I did change my mind a little.
I don’t think the main thing we are called to do is to make disciples or make music. It’s not either/or. It’s not one or the other. Instead, I think we’re called to something greater.
I think we are called to glorify God in everything we do. How do we do that?
By making disciples. By making music. And so much more.
We might glorify God through every bite of food we take, through every swallow of drink we take in.
We might glorify God by running a marathon or walking to the mailbox.
Maybe it’s by driving the speed limit and stopping at yellow.
It could be anything.
It could be by making love or making war. Or both.
I think all of us who follow Christ want an effective prayer life. We want it to be consistent and powerful. We long to see prayers answered. We desire a sweet fellowship with our God as we communicate with Him. Yet, there’s the rub. How do we do that?
I think the answer is much easier than we think. In fact, I think that is part of the problem. We make it harder than it has to be. LIke many things, to really have the prayer life we want, we just need one thing.
Now, I expect some push back here. Some will want to avoid the very semblance of there being a system. They want to just pray when the Spirit hits them. They just want to almost fly by the seat of their pants. They are afraid that their prayer life might become too regimented and legalistic. I think there is a Greek work that addresses that.
Look at the world that God created and maintains. Does it just float around any which way? Does God just seem to fly by the seat of His pants when it comes to the universe? I don’t think so. God is a God of order. He creates these wonderful systems we live in and then sometimes he overrules His own rules and does something out of the ordinary.
Look at the life of Daniel. In Daniel 6, prayer was outlawed for thirty days. When Daniel knew this happened, he went to his house to pray. He did this three times each day. Daniel ended up in the lion’s den because of this. The point, though, is that Daniel had a system for praying. He prayed three times each day. Evidently it was so regular than people knew when it took place. His enemies certainly did.
Now, what system should you choose? Sometimes I get asked a question about what Bible people should read. I always say they should read the one they will read. I don’t try to complicate it. I think it should be the same with prayer. Find a system that works for you. If that means you turn off the radio and pray on the way to work, do it. If it means that you prayer for five minutes seven times a day, do it. I don’t care. And I don’t think God cares either. I think that if you develop a system for prayer that is regular, you’ll find yourself praying during those spontaneous, fly by the seat of your pants moments too. It will actually free you up to pray.
Create yourself a system for prayer. Start out simple and expand it. Eventually you will pray without ceasing.