Practical Proverbial, from Philippians, 27 January 2020

For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:21. (EHV).

We’re people:   this is what we do.   Our own interests are the reasons for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and every other social media platform we have.    When something happens, our first, our go-to, reaction is to react based on how it affects us; what we think, how we feel, why this affects us and our opinions.

Kobe Bryant died yesterday.   But let’s be real and ask when was the last time you or I honestly considered Kobe Bryant?   He retired a few years ago.  He was another among thousands of athletes and entertainers even as he was surely one of the best to ever play his game.   From what I’ve read, he later became a devout Catholic who spent much his time split between his family and charity work.  Part of me wonders if he was working to make amends for what happened in Colorado years ago.   We’ll never know, so let’s, instead, pray for peace for a family left to grieve.

So what was your reaction when you first heard that this celebrity had died?   Stop in your tracks and consider those words “your reaction.”   Because when things happen, our first natural instinct is to consider how they affect us.   Psychologically, even physiologically, that’s probably a healthy thing.   We need to first safeguard our biological selves any time something happens around us.   Is it a danger to me?   What does it mean, and then what does it mean to me?  Considering things in the light of how they affect ourselves is actually understandable and realistic.

Yet we must not allow our consideration to end there.   Paul rightly cautions us that our self-focus can prevent us from focusing on what Jesus is doing, what Jesus wants, how this affects our lives with Jesus.  If all we do is each consider only our own interests, then this world breaks down quickly.   We have to learn to take our thoughts captive and re-direct them towards God.   The better way is to submit our thoughts, our reactions, our pro-actions to Christ and let Him take the lead in whatever comes next.

I’m not much of a basketball fan, yet even I appreciate the natural talent of a Kobe Bryant. More important than some game or even unproven actions, he later spent considerable time and resources helping inner-city kids succeed.   Yet beyond how this affects our community at large, let’s take captive those thoughts and give them over to Christ, then celebrate that Kobe and his daughter got their “well done” from Jesus yesterday.   For them, like others who died in the faith, yesterday was the best day of their lives and the start of the most important part.  That matters so much more.

For further reading:   1 Corinthians 10:24, Philippians 2:22

Lord Jesus, encourage me all the time to submit all my thoughts to You.   Thank You.

 

Practical Proverbial, from 2 Thessalonians, 7 September 2018

We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.  2 Thessalonians 3:11 (NIV).

Some verses are really convicting.   I’m convicted deeply by this one.   In my opinion, if you read verse 11 and don’t see it as a mirror staring back at you, well, you have a problem.

If you’re on Facebook (like I am), you’re a busybody; you’re a gossip.   Our world of social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest or whatever is ALL gossip.   That mean’s we’re all busybodies, busy but not busy about what matters.

I can take it; hit me.   “You’re Davy Downer.”   Yep, I guess I am.  In that vein, let me hold up that mirror again.  Maybe you’ll get a deep gaze into it.   I know I did.   I’m a busybody.

See, I love arguing politics.   I’m like others in that I’m pretty sick about America’s state of political affairs.   I’m like others in that I’m sick of seeing my side denigrated and put-down over what we believe.  When someone says something I think is wrong, I like to stand up and defend what I believe.  To be fair, folks on the other side sometimes present consideration-worthy, valid arguments; after all, we’re all Americans.   But do I let it stop there?   No, usually I don’t.   Usually I press on, yammering about whatever point I was trying to make.   Have I reinforced some opinions?   Probably.   Have I changed any minds?   Unlikely.

Sometimes I pig-pile on “liking” things that I find funny; sometimes it’s at someone else’s expense.   And, yes, I’m guilty of sharing things that are out & out wrong.   Or vengeful.   It’s no better than being in the hall in high school, chattering by the lockers or passing notes up and down the aisle.   Or standing in the back of the church, catching up on who’s doing what behind their backs.   For me, social media is nothing more than a place to waste valuable time talking about other people or myself.

(In addition to being arrogant, prideful, and, yes, sometimes a jerk) That makes me a gossip.   Time for another look in the mirror.  If Paul “friended” me, would he think I was a gossip, a busybody?   Worse, would Jesus?

Boy that mirror is bright!  Here’s an internet link, one of thousands, that mentions 32 verses decrying gossiping:  https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-gossip/.  It wasn’t just Paul saying it’s wrong.

How to change?  Stand at the cross:  “I’m sorry, please forgive me” and mean it.   Then back away from the laptop, the iPhone.  When the urge comes to argue, back away and pray a little.   It takes time; it takes effort; that mirror is heavy, and I’m a gossip addict.   But if I don’t try, do I really want to face Jesus one day and have Him look at me disappointed about this?  Or worse, have Him rightfully call me a hypocrite?

For further reading:  1 Timothy 5:13, 2 Thessalonians 3:12.

Lord, help me to change!