you better watch out

Uncategorized Jan 02, 2024

Much of the New Testament is devoted to letters that the Apostle Paul wrote to various churches in the newborn Christian sect.  Last spring, I was studying Paul’s letter to the Colossians and was intrigued by the fact that he was writing to a group of people that he had never actually met.  He had heard good reports about their faith and work, and he encouraged them to be grateful for the part they were playing in the kingdom of Christ’s light.

It occurs to me that it is almost easier to give unreserved praise to people you don’t really know.  When you know people, you are keenly aware of their foibles and shortcomings.  You know what they squabble about.  You know what they hide from the world.  You may still love them, warts and all.  But your praise and encouragement are more measured, because you also know that there are times when correction is warranted.

I don’t like correcting people… unless they have given me a hunting license. Unless they are looking for my advice or my perspective, I am just not comfortably confrontational.  However, sometimes I wonder if I should speak up more.  What could I say to those I see operating in error?

I think these words, paraphrased from Colossians might be a good place to start:  I pray that God will show you what he wants you to do, and that you will see wisely the way the world really works; and that you will have spiritual understanding to live a life that honors God, not only with your lips, but in generosity and integrity.  I pray that you will know that God has given you power to endure anything—that he has already rescued you from Satan’s grip…don’t let that snake get a toehold again!  Stay deeply rooted in Christ’s suffering sacrifice for you, and be willing to suffer your own inconvenience and your own reputation for the blessing of the world, especially your little corner of it. 

I wrote those words in my journal last year, but they seem more and more relevant to me each and every day.  My humble prayer is:  Lord, protect us from thinking that we are always on God’s side, or thinking that we are better at walking the pilgrims’ way than others are, but really caring more for our own comfort and well-being.  Help us to make costly choices, sacrificial choices.  Lord, have mercy when we are blind to the harm we have caused, for we of all people, should know better.

Christmas is over.  Santa has come and gone.  So, the admonition that You better watch out isn’t being sung on every radio station as it was just a couple of weeks ago.  But the scripture tells us that it is still best to be on your toes.  Be watchful.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in your faith. (1 Peter 5:8-9) 

It is a good word of warning, whatever the time of year. 

Love, Liz