Beau here. So I wrapped up reading Matthew on Tuesday and decided to spend the last three days looking at the "popular" books of Malachi, Haggai, and Zephaniah. I know...you are saying to yourself "Wow, I was just reading Zephaniah today as well. That's my favorite book in the Bible!" Not. No worries, I often look down on the Minor Prophets myself, but then God uses days like today to remind me that He is purposeful in all He does, including preserving a three page letter from 622 B.C. like Zephaniah.
Let me share three verses that I meditated on today and then what I journaled. 1:4 says "I will remove from this place every trace of Baal worship, as well as the very memory of the pagan priests." For context, Baal (aka Beelzebub) was a false god (fertility god) during Biblical times, most prominently discussed in the ministry of Elijah. In short, Baal took people's eyes off God and onto themselves and toehr priorities.
1:8 says "On the day of the Lord's sacrificial meal, I will punish the princes and the king's sons, and all who wear foreign styles of clothing." The King's (Josiah) sons were immersed in society and living like the pagan (non-Jewish) people around them (i.e., dressing like them).
1:12 says "I will punish the people who are entrenched in their sin, those who think to themselves, 'The Lord neither rewards nor punishes.'" The people were finding joy in their sinful lives and figured there were no consequences to their wreckless lives nor did God have anything better to offer.
So I asked myself the following two questions. First, what idols are deeply entrenched i my life? Second, where have I fully assimilated into my non-Christian society? With the new year upon me, a time for resolutions, this is a great time to ask these questions!
I am still assessing my answer to the two questions, but here is a list of four things I am wrestling with.
1. Television can be such a time sink. It both takes time from things (family, Bible study, solitude, rest, friends) and fills my mind with unhealthy stuff (not many shows glorify godly men who lead and love their families). We cancelled cable three years ago to help combat this, but I still have more ground to gain both in how much time I spend here and what I expose myself to.
2. Way too many things compete for our money. We have totally confused the difference between wants and needs. 1 Timothy 6:8 tells us what we need "But if we have food and shelter, we will be satisfied with that." Natalie and I need to filter stewardship decisions through that verse as well as 2 Corinthians 8:14-15. Saying "I will give X%, save Y%, and spend the rest however I please" just doesn't cut it. I need to continue growing here, looking at God's word for direction, not this world (be it secular or church world).
3. Sin doesn't really grieve me. Sin is everywhere. It is accepted in society. It is accepted in churches. It is glorified on TV. I have been desensitized to most sin (note: I think the best way to picture sin is to look at 1 Corinthians 10:31 for how we are to live "whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God." or James 4:17 where it says "so whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin."). My men's group will be jumping into Jerry Bridges new book "Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate" next month, and I really hope to gain ground on this one.
4. I thirst for comfort way too much. Comfort is a near constant objective in my life. This causes me to not hear God's whispers (and loud screams!) to seek and serve Him. I all too often ask the question "will that serve my temporary thirst for..." instead of "is that was my all-knowing, all-loving Father would have me do?" Paul got it right when he said in Acts 20:24 "But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus..." And then Jesus tells us that the SELFISH thing to do is to follow His call, not our sinful ambition, when He says in Matthew 10:39 "whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it." Or as Jim Elliot (movie End of the Spear) put it "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
So that and my $2 for a Grande Coffee is what I got to enjoy this morning for 30 minutes at the local coffee shop. Praying I actually do something with these thoughts...