Only Take Care

Step Carefully

This is great advice for any age, even though when this was issued it wasn’t advice; it was a command. Here’s the whole verse:

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.

And yes, I have as much trouble keeping my soul diligently as anyone else. Of course I could claim the excuse that my memory is particularly faulty, causing me to forget God’s commands and the lessons I’ve learned over the years, but that would be an outright lie. Surely, I have a lousy memory, but that doesn’t cause my disobedience. As Apostle Paul told us:

Romans 7:17-18 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (18) For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.

If I wanted a copout, there it is, straight from the apostle’s pen. But just because sin “dwells within me,” doesn’t mean disobedience isn’t my personal choice. Apostle John told us:

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them (the spirits that deny Christ), for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

That means we could resist sin if sufficiently motivated to do so. If I truly hated a particular sin I simply wouldn’t do it. To “keep my soul diligently,” I must respond to that red flag of conviction by first praying for the Holy Spirit’s intervention. Second, if I fail to resist the temptation, I must submit to the His grievance, allowing my heart to be broken, and determining to repent of that course of sin.

I hope it goes without saying that one cannot respond to sin in that godly fashion if he or she, you or I, are not actively walking in God’s Spirit:

Galatians 5:16-17 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (17) For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Some of the most difficult tasks are dead simple, like climbing a hundred foot rope, or for me, climbing any length of rope. Similarly, walking according to the Spirit is dead simple, but deadly difficult. Here again, Apostle Paul gives us the key:

2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

To destroy the world’s stupid arguments and opinions we must really know God’s Word, if not by rote memory, at least by principle. The second part of the above verse is a matter of pure will. I know when my mind begins to wander from its obedient mode; there’s that red flag again.

I pray this will help you to overcome sin in your life. The way I conduct my life is certainly not perfect, but these principles help keep me from wandering too far from the Spirit-filled life that I so desperately covet.

Proud of Being White?

AWHMI followed a link to a Facebook page called, “American White History Month.” On it, I found a slogan with which I, though about as white as one can be, cannot agree. With it, however, I found a true statement, which I will quote first, “Never apologize for being white.”

I’ve done many things during my sixty-eight years for which I could indeed apologize, but why would I apologize for being what God made me? That would be like apologizing for being male, or human. Though males and whites, indeed, all humans, do despicable things, we don’t do them because we are a particular sex or color; we do them because we are sinful.

The second slogan on that page proclaims far more than its creators realize. “Proud of our race and heritage,” seems dangerously close to taking credit for God’s creative work. We didn’t choose to be born white, and of European heritage, so how can we be proud of that? We can certainly be glad of it, and thankful for it, just as people of color can be glad and thankful for who they are. Following, are Bible passages that deal with pride and its consequences:

Ephesians 5:15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21

1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

1 Timothy 4:4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Pride in something, and gratitude for it, are antithetical, if at once, one takes credit for it, and gives credit for it. So, which will it be? The passages above, and many more, command gratitude, but never does God’s Word tell us to take pride in what he gave us; even though we may have worked hard for something, or even invented it, we didn’t create it. Such pride is most certainly one form of evil.

As for our heritage, we are a nation born of Christian principles, and that, according to our Constitution’s Establishment Clause, is where our national Christianity ends. As Premier Obama said, America was never a Christian nation. Fact is, we can take pride in no nation governed by fallen human beings, as everything they do is based in sin, even if it seems noble. But we can, and must, remain thankful for it.