” For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.” 2 Corinthians 12:20
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” James 1:26
“Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.” Proverbs 10:18
“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20
Since the beginning, in the garden of Eden, our enemy has been trying to get us to pick sides. This tactic has been carried on throughout the centuries ever since. I think its such a powerful tactic because humans have a natural desire to belong. To belong to someone, to belong somewhere. Gangs use this tactic, political parties, sports teams, even some churches participate in the call to belong here instead of over there.
So often we fall for it, we fall for the lure to pick the right side.
The reality is that the only sides there are to choose from are either us or God. That’s right, only 2 choices here. This reality makes choosing way less exciting, and way less complicated. Ecclesiastes says there is not a man who continually does good. If we are honest, we would quickly disagree and say that we are good. If can say right now “I’m a pretty good person.” we are living in denial. Giving ourselves credit as if not committing murder somehow raises our status of goodness, is well, so typical of humans, we may as well be Buddhists, or Hindu or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Ephesians 2:9 reminds us that using works as a means to prove worthiness is a danger, saying “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” We have to humble ourselves in order to operate under this truth that our ways are bent towards ourselves, towards sin and away from God.
This devotional is really a reminder that if our opinions and the sides we pick don’t honor God, don’t point people to Christ, don’t encourage the 1st commandment or any of the others thereafter then we should be apprehensive to share them. We all have opinions. But if we are not taking seriously, that we are all sinners and that our ways are not God’s ways, then we are living in denial of our own depravity and potentially doing more spiritual damage than good.
So, my encouragement for this week, is that when you have conversations wether about coronavirus, or your job, or your boss, or fears, or unknowns, or political parties, or daily routines, or lack of motivation, or depression, or being frustrated with others as they make different choices than you would, that you would think about how to drive the conversation to truths about God, His sovereignty, His goodness, and most importantly share with others what God has done in your life during the times when you have felt fear or out of control.
Like I said before, we all want to belong. No one wants to feel alone, and that is where the drive to pick sides comes from, to protect us from being alone. So instead of encouraging sides, encourage that we are all in this together, under God, even if we disagree or would do things differently. If we as Christians are all on the same side, the side that was saved through nothing we could have ever done ourselves, the side that deserved death but was gifted life, then we should be compelled to continually drive people to our side. Because the only other option is the side that leads to death and an eternity separated from God.
I pray Father that you would guide our words today and every day. I pray Father that your spirit would filter what we say, that I would not glorify myself thinking I know what is right and wrong, but that I would dig deeply into your Word to find out what you say, and form my opinions from that truth. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Have a great week my friends.