Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thoughts. Real ones.

We were reading tonight in 1st Peter, chapter two (I've started a nightly Bible reading with the family... it's awesome! Not really a Bible study, although sometimes we discuss what we've read, instead just letting God's powerful, awesome Word do its thing in our family; we've been reading out of "The Message (Remix)" as it seems to be an easy-to-read version for the variety of ages of our family - almost "Word Light" so to speak).  Anyway... onto the thoughts.

Well, not specifically related to the sequential reading (warning: jumbled thoughts may be on the verge of escaping my cranium through my fingertips!), we discussed (over the last couple of nights) cups.  From an evening sermon illustration our pastor relayed, if your "cup" (that is you, your vessel) is filled with junk, like pens, it's awfully hard to fill it with God's spirit (like a cup full of pens or Mardi Gras beads is hard to FILL with water).  Further, if your cup is "bumped" by someone during the course of the day, what is it that spills out onto that person?  Is it flaming acid (I know, acid probably doesn't actually burn; or does it? been too long since I studied chemistry!), or is it the holy, refreshing water of God's spirit?  Further still, the "filling" of the cup isn't something you can do - you just empty the cup and then immerse it under the flowing stream of God's spirit until it overflows.  And you need to keep filling it daily so that you can keep overflowing onto everyone who bumps you each day.

And how do you know that you're filled with the Spirit?  Galatians 5:22-23.  Yep, the fruit of the spirit... that's the evidence that your vessel is filled with the Spirit.  And what if something else comes out when you're bumped?  Well, you can't really blame the person who bumped you for what you've put into your vessel.

Anyway... back to the reading of 1 Peter 2 (that's 1st Peter, chapter 2).  From vs 1-3:
"So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk."
Now, let's think a little further... like over in Romans 12:19-21:
 17-19Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."

 20-21Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
So... if someone affronts you, and you "get even," guess what?  You're putting yourself in GOD's position!  Wow... self-idolatry.  Not so good, eh?  In fact, this is what got us all in trouble in the first place... the origin of sin: pride, wanting to put ourselves in the place of God.  It happened in Eden (silly woman! heh-heh, I know, I know...).  It happened in my life (yes, really), and it happened in yours (yes, really).  After all, the person affronting you isn't really sinning against you - (s)he's sinning against God.

Disagree?  What about David's confession in Psalm 51, where he says (in one way or another depending on your version), "Against you, you only, have I sinned" - that is, his sin was against God.  What sin?  Adultery, murder, lying, conspiracy... his sin affected him (his relationship with God, among other things), Bathsheba (the affair, murder of her husband), Uriah (he died, essentially - though not quite physically - by David's own hand), his entire nation (he had to lie to cover up the truth), Nathan the prophet (poor guy had to take time out of his day to go to visit the king and, after that, had to tell the king, the guy with all the power, "hey, dummy..." - yeah, yeah, I know, God's really the one with all the power - Nathan didn't fear David, but it still was time out of his day)... David's sin affected (in a negative way) lots of people, but the sin was against God alone.

So, when someone's sin affects you, that doesn't necessarily mean the sin is against you, and regardless, it's God's job to do the "getting even" - not yours.  In fact, it's actually sin when you do the getting even - sin of disobedience, sin of idolatry (you're putting yourself in God's place), sin of pride, sin of not loving your neighbor...

So, there you go... some thoughts.  I think I'd never thought about the "getting even" in this way, that you're putting yourself in God's place, which is (essentially) the root of all sin.

Wait... that's not all!  Stay tuned and you'll get even more thoughts!  About this whole "putting ourselves in God's place" thing... well, because we did that, then God had to put himself in our place (via coming in the form of a man, Jesus, and taking our place in terms of the punishment for our sins).  We put ourselves in God's place, and as a result he put himself in our place so that we can get back to him.  Pretty cool, eh?  And that's all.  For now.

1 comment:

Christy said...

WOW, pretty good stuff, there! You seemed to be gone for a while, but now you're back with bang! I actually had to remove my hands from the mouse and read for a bit. I like the cup analogy.