Monday, June 27, 2016

Attitude And People

Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
(Isaiah 6:5)

I called a business the other day for some information. The person who answered the phone clearly didn't have a very high opinion of me. Her tone was condescending. She sighed heavily as I tried to clarify. It was clear she didn't want to help me, so I let her off the hook. I told her I would call back. Five minutes later I did. Another person answered the phone. We had never met, but she clearly thought I was worth talking to. She found what I needed, and we had a great conversation.

Attitude toward others is huge at home. Ever heard a husband speak condescendingly to his wife (or a wife to a husband)? It's embarrassing. Ever heard a wife or husband speak with love in their voice? It's encouraging. Attitude is huge at work. It sure made a difference in my dealings with the business I mentioned above. Attitude toward others is everything in a Christian's life.

Yesterday as I sang during our worship service, God seemed to speak to me, reminding me about Isaiah. When Isaiah saw the Lord glorified in Heaven, his attitude changed. His opinion about himself was humbled, "I am a man of unclean lips." But, what about his attitude toward the people he served, "and live among a people of unclean lips"?  You could read that as a pastoral rebuke, "I live among dirty, rotten, rebellious people," but not if you read the context.

Isaiah was humbled, and while he confessed the sinfulness of his people, he also confessed that he and they were standing on level ground. In the presence of God, it became clear that no one was holy. No one superior. He was not a God follower condescending to godless people. He was a God follower by the grace of God alone.

While every follower of Christ needs the boldness of the Holy Spirit to speak about God, we also need something in addition. We need to be humbled about ourselves. We must not think we are superior to those we serve, lead or those to whom we witness. If we are, they will know. We need boldness, humility, and compassion. Compassion caring for another person because you identify with them

We need to be regularly reminded that the only difference between someone who is lost and someone who is saved is this. One is a sinner with a Savior. The other is a sinner in need of a Savior. Get that attitude in you, and your heart will be filled with the Love of Christ, and they will know that, too. Oh, by the way, it won't just change your witness or your home. It will change your life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Don't Let It Go, Learn From The Past

Then Job replied to the LORD: I know that You can do anything and no plan of Yours can be thwarted. You asked, "Who is this who conceals My counsel with ignorance?" Surely I spoke about things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, "Listen now, and I will speak. When I question you, you will inform Me." I had heard rumors about You, but now my eyes have seen You, therefore I take back my words and repent in dust and ashes.  (Job 42:1-6)

When it comes to a person's past most people break into a spoken word rendition of "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen. Let it go. Let it go. That's not always the best thing to do. What if the way you have interpreted your past is wrong? What if you're like Job, and you've misinterpreted God by means of misinterpreting your past?  What if you never take the time to reinterpret the past in light of who God really is?

Job was a great, godly man who hated sin and loved God. Satan told God that Job was only godly because God had blessed him. God allowed Satan to test Job, taking all he had except his life and his wife (who encouraged Job to curse God for the losses). Job became the poster child for When Bad Things Happen To Good People. While he didn't curse God, he began to accuse God of being unfair and unjust. If God had not come and caused Job to reevaluate his past in light of the reality of who God really is, Job would have died in despair. Instead, when he saw who God really was and who he really was, he was able to repent of his past and move into the future with God.

Sometimes we don't need to let it go. Sometimes we need to bring it back up with God and ask Him to reinterpret our past in light of who He is and how He does things. That's what I've been doing for several weeks now as I've preached through the book of Job. I've come to realize that much of how I viewed the past was through pessimistic eyes. I wasn't pessimistic about God as much as I was about myself, my own abilities. As I've asked God to show me Himself, I've tried to understand and reinterpret my past in light of God, His truth, and His plan. It's been sobering, and it's led to repentance, but it is also leading to levels of personal freedom that I believe will help me glorify God and be filled with greater joy as I serve Him in the future.

So, maybe you don't need to let it go. Maybe you need to bring it back up, only this time bring it up with God.