Monday, July 27th, 2009
"Be kind to yourself, Lord." (Matthew 16:22)
Every day, we are confronted with trials and decisions, large and small. What should be the determining factor in our response? For example, when we are face-to-face with temptation to do something that would jeopardize our Christian standing, how do we react? When Peter told Jesus to be kind to himself, Jesus exclaimed: "Get behind me, Satan! . . . You think, not God's thoughts, but those of men." (Matthew 16:21-23) Or when we are offered opportunities for financial or career advancement at the cost of our spiritual welfare, do we react as Jesus did? When Jesus sensed that those who saw his miracles "were about to come and seize him to make him king," he quickly withdrew from them. (John 6:15) Jesus saw clearly that more than his personal safety or advantage was involved. He wanted to do his Father's will and uphold Jehovah's sovereignty at all costs. (Matthew 26:50-54)
(Watchtower issue: 12/01/07, 2:14, 15)
*I had a minor epiphany or lightbulb moment while I was studying earlier, and coincidently it ties into the point made in today's text about making sure we keep Jehovah's will as our prime focus like Jesus did. I started thinking about the growing number of people who have all these very admirable goals and good-intentions, when it comes to humanitarian efforts, and working towards improving the environment and protecting wildlife etc, etc. And those things are definitely important since when you think about the type of people that would make up an "ideal society," those "type" of people would seem to make the perfect citizens, right? So with such a positive, healthy attitude, you would think they would be receptive to God's plans for mankind and the earth as well, right? And I'm sure maybe some of them are, but here's the interesting part that really shows why having "good intentions" and being "a good person" isn't enough.
Excluding God from the picture is no small matter. Case in point: EVE. Think about it, Eve wasn't a terribly "wicked" person (according to what most people would consider wicked) She wasn't a murderer, or an adulterer, or a lying slanderer, etc. And based on the fact that Adam loved her so much that he was willing to forgo his relationship with God and the chance for eternal life, rather than give her up, shows she must have been a pretty incredible woman and wife. (Since obviously Jehovah could have provided Adam with a new wife if he had chosen to remain obedient instead of following her lead)
-Now stop and think about what the activities of her everyday life would have been like, and tell me if this doesn't ring a bell, (when you think about the type of positive, "good intentioned" people in our modern society today, which I just described above)...She had a healthy, loving relationship with her husband, she had an active share in taking care of the environment, and her 'garden home', and caring for the animals. But what was missing? What ruined any good intentioned plans she may have had for the earth and her future family? -First, she desired to have something which she did not have the permission, or 'the right' to, and secondly, she willingly chose to EXCLUDE GOD from the picture, by "taking matters into her own hands" and wanting to do things "her own way." Additionally, she also showed a lack of love, submission and respect for her husband, and the headship arrangement, by going ahead and doing what SHE wanted to do, without consulting him or making him aware of it first. You can hardly call that "real love" when her irresponsible decision directly contributed to Adam losing his life.
So I can't help noticing how that very same attitude has started creeping into people's thinking in a more subtle way lately. Because hello? Who would deny that trying to help save humanity and the planet is a bad thing? (which, in-and-of-itself, is not) But if you strip away the surface, you can see that its the very same ideology that Satan promoted to Eve -that she could rule herself independently from God. Because instead of recognizing Jehovah's Sovereignty and his RIGHT to rule his creation, there's this overall attitude of: "we can fix the planet and humanity ourselves" while pushing God completely out of the picture. It may "sound nice" and the people who promote that ideology may seem to have "good intentions," but bottomline... Satan hasn't changed... Eve was lied to.
Which is why we need to take just as firm a stand against subtle ideas presented that attempt to divert us from doing God's will, or keeping that at the forefront in our lives, just like Jesus had to firmly reject those ideas, even when they came from well intentioned friends (like Peter), in order to stay on course.