A time to reflect. No, seriously, reflect
Tim Sherrill, Tuesday, Jan 13, 2021
What we are hearing, observing and feeling in our world has been here long before the day you
were born. It’s just much more exposed today. Like a pile of wood soaked in lighter fluid, it just
needed some spark to turn it into flames. We’ve had a lot of sparks the past several years.
We’ve had many years of applying the fluid.
The good news coming out of this is we are wakening out of our neutrality or if we were already
vibrant for the Kingdom, we are more so now. The first century church thrived under much
more trying and contentious circumstances than we can even imagine. Persevere! There were
no stimulus checks coming from Rome. Disciples often had to meet in secret as many do today.
Even with the passing of Steve’s mom, Sally, whom we were all blessed to meet and be with the
last several years of her life, we are reminded about the brevity of life and we are stopped to
reflect on what matters most. With those we know, and love, their passing is an opportunity to
remember, whether we believe it or not, we’re just temporarily here. So, glorify God, make the
most of everyday and give thanks in all circumstances. I believe when someone we know
passes, especially a disciple, it’s a great time for reflection.
To that extent, I keep thinking of Paul’s second letter to Timothy where in 2:22-26, we have this
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those
who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with stupid arguments,
because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he
must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently
instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the
truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has
taken them captive to do his will.
There are so many different avenues where we can get caught up in the argumentative, anger,
bitterness, indignation, pride, rage mentality that so pervade our airwaves, websites and
articles. We can be drawn into the same “heart”. Our hearts can become stones. Instead, what
we need to be reminded of is our need to pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace... turn off
the voices of the world, listen and follow the voice of God.
Like our theme scripture from last year from Philippians 1... “no matter what happens, conduct
yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
Reflect on that. Right now, reflect. Allow for some meditation. Be sober (objective, sound, real)
in your self-assessment. Maybe ask a family member what kind of spirit they see coming out of
you. Compare and contrast the argumentation of the world, our country, maybe even disciples
today with the Timothy text above, and then overlay this with 1 Peter 2: 21-25:
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you
should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no
threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his
body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you
have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the
Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
And of course, there are those powerful words of Jesus as he hung naked, beaten and despised
on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing”, Luke 23:34. Can
you imagine the capacity to love that way?
Let me just throw two other thoughts at you as we move into, more than likely, more tumult.
One is from Philippians, the other Galatians.
In Philippians 4:4-9, the setting is a problem of two people in the church having a hard time
getting along, Paul encouraged the church this way:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The
Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all
understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is
pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think
(meaning to use one’s mind actively to form connected ideas about someone or something)
about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in
me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
What a great call today... let these be the kinds of things we are drawn to, that we listen to,
that we pay attention to. Otherwise, we will fall into the trap of the devil and we will be taken
captive to do his will... make no mistake about it, we will! And we can easily observe this...
How?... by inspecting the fruit our lives produce. Is our heart and mind and thus our attitude,
conversations and conduct the fruits of the Spirit, or the polemics of the sinful nature...
Check out Galatians 5.
These scriptures are not just nice religious sayings. They are the rhythms of life for walking the
way, the truth, the life. But we can’t just read them. We have to live them; we have to train
ourselves by them... “put it into practice”. It’s a whole different dance!
Psalm 19:14 NRSV-May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be
pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.