I finished law school and began practicing law at a firm in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The folks at the firm had a saying when someone was overreacting or losing control. They would say that person was “actin’ a fool!”
Sometimes when tensions would rise in our office, the paralegal would say to the attorney, “Now don’t go actin’ a fool right now” (read with a hint of southern twang!).
It cracked me up, but it’s so true. Lawyers really can act like fools, especially when stress and pressure rise. In fact, I think we can all “act a fool” sometimes.
Today’s passage, however, reminds us that Christians are called to a different kind of behavior:
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. ~ Colossians 3:12-15
If we turn to the book of Colossians and read the chapter in context, we will see that no disclaimer exists. Our behavior should be different ~ loving, kind, humble, gentle, forgiving, etc. In fact, we can read this call to a higher standard of behavior several times in the New Testament, but we won’t find a disclaimer that gives us an “out” or an excuse to “act a fool.”
Bottom line: our behavior matters because we represent Christ in this world. John 13:35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We are experiencing stressful and extreme times right now in our nation and around the world. It feels, at times, too much to bear.
I believe it’s our behavior in these situations that should set us apart. If we can respond in love and not “act a fool,” someone might ask us why we are so calm, loving, kind, or patient at a time like this. BAM! The door opens to share our faith and show the love of Jesus to those around us.
I pray these terrible times give us opportunities to bring more people into the Kingdom of God, or simply introduce them to Jesus. I pray that the Holy Spirit rises up in powerful ways and keeps all Christians from “actin’ a fool” so that others will know we are His disciples.
In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Remember that song, “Don’t worry, be happy?” It was a catchy tune, but it didn’t provide much to help us stop worrying. Jesus, however, told us exactly how to stop worrying. Apparently, 2000+ years ago, people also worried. Jesus didn’t sing a jingle. Instead, He said this:
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?
You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:25-34
If the Lord does not want us to worry about what we will eat, what we will drink, or whether we will have clothing to wear, do you think He wants us to worry about other, non-essential things? Likely not.
Today’s passage is packed with spiritual truth about our value and worth to God. Understanding our true value in the sight of God is the key to releasing worry, fear, and anxiety.
Consider taking a 5-minute walk outside today. Check out the multitude of animals and plants that are all thriving under God’s provision. Look around and realize that the Lord is making sure that each critter, down to the tiny bug, gets what it needs each day. With a mouth to speak and a life that can give glory to the Lord, how much more will God care for you?
Today’s passage also points out the obvious: worry does no good. Worry is one of those behaviors that the Lord would like us to give up so that our behavior sets us apart as a Christ-followers.
Jesus told us why we should stop the madness of worry and stress over our needs: your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But, when it seems like so much is at stake in your life, how do we stop worrying and stressing? The answer is also in today’s passage: seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Seek God first, in all that you do, and the rest will take care of itself.
The song should say, “Seek God, Be Happy!”
Try these 3 steps when the worry rises up it’s ugly (and useless) head:
- Pray a verse that reminds you of God’s power or provision.
- Look out your window or go outside. God’s provision is so evident in His creation. While you look, remember today’s passage ~ that you are certainly more valuable to God than the grass or the birds.
- Ask God to help you with your unbelief. Ask Him to help you stand up against worry. Claim your position as a child of God and release the worry to the only One who can do anything about it!
How do you stop stressing? Do you have something that helps you seek God first?
The last time we “talked” I was sitting alone in the desert, asking God how I should explain what happens when we read our Bibles (see Monday’s post “Why Should I Read Something That Is 2000 Years Old?!”). As I sat under the hot Arizona sun, God answered…
As I sat in utter astonishment, wondering how God could speak into my heart each time I read my Bible, the Holy Spirit prompted me to turn to the book of Isaiah, Chapter 55. As I read Isaiah 55:10-13, in my heart I heard, “My Word is Purposeful, Personal, and Powerful:”
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:11
Purposeful: Isaiah 55:10
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
God’s Word comes to you for a reason…
Personal: Isaiah 55:10
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
… and that reason is exactly what you need. Whether you need seed to sow or food to eat, God’s Word gives each person what is needed. Although the Bible was written way before your time, God still intends to use it in your life today.
Purposeful: Isaiah 55:11
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
What is written in the Bible and how God intends to use His Word in your life will be accomplished. God’s Word will succeed. He will not allow the Bible to be meaningless or irrelevant.
Powerful: Isaiah 55:12-13
For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up,
And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up,
And it will be a memorial to the Lord,
For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.
Peace and joy. Moving mountains and trees. Instead of “bad” things, good things will happen. Others will see your life and be led to the Lord and His Word. Wow ~ that’s powerful!
Knowing that the Bible contains what you need, that God intends to use His Word in your life in a powerful way, shouldn’t you make time for it? The Bible will unleash not only the power of God in your life, but the peace and joy you seek.
Dust off that Bible and open your heart to the Lord’s voice!
Has God spoken to you through the Scriptures? I’d love to hear about it and I’m sure it would encourage others ~ so please share in the comments.