Thursday, November 13, 2014

How’s That Work, Again?

You have to be a certain age for this to make sense, but it really is a good joke on anyone who determined that there would be a time when we could do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.

The true key is determining what we want to do, isn’t it?

Frank Abagnale’s story, told in book and movie, glamorized a life lived as he pleased, but one he describes as, “the justification of a fantasy.” We know what we want,  we don’t know if it is the best thing for us. That’s nothing new. The book of Judges mentions doing “right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6, 21:25) and Solomon mentions it, too:

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts. (Proverbs 21:2 KJV)

A variety of terms have been used among different generations. Too often it resembles Polonius’ advice to Laertes:
This above all: to thine own self be true

Without the accompanying desired results:
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

My generation had many who set out to find themselves, and forgot to look beyond themselves. Some believed headlines telling us “God is Dead,” and the articles that told us such a belief was simply illogical and unnecessary. Maybe our parents needed such a crutch, but no more. That’s no newer than David”s Psalm:

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.  (Psalms 14:1a KJV)

Seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being is usually without regard for anything or anyone else. Such selfishness breaks all kinds of relationships. It can make us false to people we say we love, but do not put their love uppermost in our lives.

Our relationship with God requires unselfish love, devoted to Him.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38 KJV)

This is a strange, compelling love, that although it takes all of our heart, soul and mind, there’s love left over for the second commandment:

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22:39 KJV)

This is the Greek ἀγαπάω (agapaō) love, in both verses. Not φιλέω (phileō), to be a friend to or fond of some one/thing. Rather than simply “having affection for” or a “sentiment or feeling about”, ἀγαπάω is defined as “wider, embracing especially the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety.” I like the distinction between the two definitions. I made a choice to love God, deliberately consenting to His commands.

That has worked very well for me!! No – I have not been able to do as I pleased. But, I have been pleased with what I am able to do as a follower of Christ. I trust my Lord to have my best interests and to be much more knowledgeable about my future than anyone else. He sees me through His own mercy and grace. For that I am eternally grateful. Because He has made changes in my heart, I see this scripture fulfilled:

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalms 37:4-5 KJV)

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Thank you for taking time to read and comment on the blog. Comments should take into consideration this verse: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)