For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. [II Cor. 1:12]
Do you know people who just simply cannot catch a break? It’s as though they are walking around under a dark cloud. Everything they do seems to create more problems for them and no matter how hard they try, they never get out from under it.
Are you one of these people? Is God judging you? Is the world against you?
In the passage cited, the apostle Paul seems to be exposing his life-philosophy in terms of relationships, both to the world and to people in it. What he’s saying is that he isn’t trying to make things happen the way he thinks best, but merely trusting God to do what is best.
He points to his ‘simplicity’ — literally, a sincerity that does not seek his own desires.
He points to ‘godly sincerity’ — literally, a divine clearness or purity of motive.
Can we honestly say that’s how we approach the decisions of life? Or do we come at it with preconceived ideas and goals? Ideas and goals steeped in personal desire? Ideas and goals fashioned according to worldly patterns and dictates? Self-centered ideas and goals? Idealistic goals and worldly patterns?
A large part of our life’s decisions are fashioned by the context of our lives. The way we were raised will create certain values and ideals. Often, we will reject those ideals, viewing them as too restrictive or old-fashioned. Or we will embrace them, whether or not they are destructive, thinking them to be The Pattern since our parents or our community taught them.
Are you starting to see The Problem? Each of us live in a context. Each context varies, depending on the environment that defines it. It doesn’t occur to us that ALL of them may be wrong: that they are ALL crafted according to human desire and perception, based on cultural context and circumstance.
Each person must evaluate the world according to a standard outside themselves or suffer from moral and cultural myopia. One of the greatest dangers is rejecting the previous generation’s values, simply because you want better. American culture has always suggested that you can be whatever you choose. However, choosing outside the boundaries of reason or capacity is always a recipe for disaster.
Did you start out purposing to get a good education? Did you compensate for your natural sloth? Did you cultivate good character? Did you practice personal discipline? Did you protect and preserve your relationships? Did you pay attention to how people make decisions and learn from their mistakes? Did you value character development: Honesty, Honor, Discipline, Courage, Determination, Dependency, Truthfulness, etc.?
There is a reason why this blog is Characterized: Life Only Works One Way. You cannot drink a 5th of Whiskey every day for 30 years and not have cirrhosis of the liver! You cannot straighten a fingernail by chewing on it. And you cannot succeed dishonestly.
Those who suffer the most are they who keep making poor-to-bad decisions. EX: choosing a job that provides you with time to go to the beach; choosing a life-mate, based on how he/she makes you feel…at the time; buying the car you’ve always wanted; burning a relationship-bridge because you’ve been hurt or you don’t need that person anymore, etc.
The only thing worse than these is repeating them! Needing more income, you choose a job simply on the basis that it pays more; disenchanted with your marriage, you divorce…thinking the next one will better; letting the finance company re-possess the car you can no longer afford; maintaining a destructive relationship for fear of having no friends at all.
It is (literally) a mine-field ‘out there.’ and young people, today, are ill-equipped to navigate it successfully because the last 4 generations have succeeded in ‘gumming up’ the works.
Only God knows the best way to live! He says: “…incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Pro. 1:2-6
He has spelled it out for us, in The Bible.
Honor your mother and your father! Ex. 20:12
Be diligent in your labors! Pro. 14:23 … ‘in all labor there is profit’
Do not forsake the wife of your youth! Mal. 2:14
A good name is better than riches! Pro 22:1
The ‘Problems’ of life have limited Sources: 1) they come from a loving God Who is either seeking to get your attention or is working a program you do not understand….OR 2) they come from our refusal to follow God’s Word…which is perfect.
If God is working to get our attention, this is a good thing since God does not do this in every life. If, however, we are deliberately rejecting God’s Word, we deserve what we get! To deliberately reject something implies we know better. To do so anyway is stubborn rebellion.
The complication is The World! The world’s influence is stronger than ever, given the technology available to even small children, and it is unrelenting. It teaches us that we do not have to put up with anything or anyone we don’t want to. It teaches us that there are people and programs that will sustain us despite the decisions we make. And it teaches us that anyone who tells us we should do right, regardless of the circumstances, is dangerous.
CALL ME DANGEROUS!
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