Friday, October 30, 2009

Lucky who?

"Good luck!"
Someone has probably asserted something similar to this to this phrase to you before, or perhaps you've used the same phrase yourself. But have you ever thought about what you or someone else might be implying when stating something using the words luck, fate or chance? 

R.C. Sproul expresses:
“There is a crucial difference between the providence of God and fortune, fate, or luck. The key to this difference is found in the personal character of God. Fortune is blind while God is all-seeing. Fate is impersonal while God is a Father. Luck is dumb while God can speak.”
So using a term such as "luck" can express a reliance on a force that is not even there!

Why do we, even Christians, use words such as "luck"? I believe one reason is because of the influence of our culture upon us. It is so deep that often times we simply do not comprehend the meaning of such wording when we wish someone "good luck".  I mean, it just means that you hope someone does well, right?  If that is all you're really meaning, then is it possible for you to find alternate wording that will express your thoughts better?

Christians should use wording that evidences their complete reliance on the providence of God, His power and His might alone.

I have to admit, when I catch someone saying some form of the word "luck", I sometimes remind them that "there's no such thing as luck". If someone asks me what to say instead, I suggest wording that reveals a dependence on God and not on chance. John Calvin expresses that:
"If every success is God's blessing, and calamity and adversity His curse, no place now remains in humans affairs for fortune or chance."
He goes on to say,
“We make God the ruler and governor of all things, who in accordance with His wisdom has from the farthest limit of eternity decreed what He was going to do, and now by His might carries out what He has decreed.”
It brings joy to me to hear my brothers and sisters in Christ expressing how God has worked in their lives, how He has been good to them, or how they are praying for me.  Honestly, I'd much prefer to hear that other than "good luck".  :)  What about you?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Talking to yourself...good?

I always thought talking to yourself was kinda silly, even though I sometimes do it. It’s not something generally encouraged. However, recently I read Humility: True Greatness and C.J. Mahaney suggested talking to yourself! Surprised?

Mr. Mahaney quotes Martin Lloyd-Jones who expresses:
“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?”

Think about that. As strange as it may seem, it’s true! When you daydream, you’re allowing your mind to wander—you’re listening to yourself. Daydreaming isn’t always “bad”, but often times it decreases our productivity, distracts us from things we should be doing, or even disregards the command to think whatever is true, noble, right, pure…

Mr. Mahaney continues:
“Take a moment to review and examine your pattern of thinking yesterday. Did you spend more time speaking truth to yourself, or was most of your time spent listening to yourself? Most of us spend more time listening to lies than we do speaking truth to ourselves.”

Our hearts are prone to wander, so we must take every thought captive. Our actions follow our thinking, so we must actively take each thought captive to the obedience of Christ. And in order to learn to think what is honorable and pleasing to God we must replace our wrong thoughts with right thoughts. Only Christ can give us the power, strength and ability to do this, but it also involves talking to yourself. Not silly, made-up conversations. On the contrary, learn to speak truth into your life. This involves meditating, memorizing and quoting Scripture and reminding yourself of the promises and commands God has given in His Word. Diligent study of Scripture will reap great rewards.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Forming Friendships

Becoming close friends with people should be a slow process. Not because the people you’re around are necessarily bad or unworthy of your friendship, but because friendships need to be built on Christ.

Prov. 22:24-25 reminds us: “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” The wisdom found here is that being around someone who character is ungodly can result in negative parallels in your own life. Hastily rushing into a close friendship can also easily end up as a broken friendship later on. Usually instantaneous close friendships are built on the current similar interests that don’t always last because of change of interests, instead of being built on Christ, the only strong foundation.

The people you want to be close friends with are those who not only share similar convictions, but can fulfill some of the ideas I shared in the purpose of friendships.

Henry Blackaby says:
“Be careful in your choice of friends! Jesus chose His closest friends wisely. He did not look for perfect friends, but friends whose hearts were set to follow God. It is equally important to examine the kind of friend you are to others. As a friend, it is your duty to put the needs of others first (Prov. 17:17). Strive to find godly friends who will challenge you to become the person God desires. When you have found them, be receptive to the way God uses them to help you become spiritually mature. Strive also to be the kind of friend that helps others become more like Christ.
Also, don’t limit your friendships to people your age. You can learn and glean so much from those older than you, and you can use friendships with those younger than you to practice things like encouraging, inspiring and ministering!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Influence, part 2

What if I’m not trying to influence anyone but am? You are known by your deeds but you also influence by them. The way you act, speak, and respond to different circumstances can influence others, whether for good or for bad. It is likely that you are silently influencing others, whether you are trying to or not. Remember that “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Col. 3:17). While our motivation for doing what is right should not be to simply influence those around us, we need to be aware that we often have the opportunity to do so. “Walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory”. 1 Thess. 2:12

Why should we desire to influence others? Because leading, inspiring and encouraging others in godliness is a great privilege! 1 Thess. 5:14 urges us to “admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” We should love to allow God use us to influence others for His kingdom. We also need to use our time wisely, and by clarifying the purpose of our friendships we can wisely use our time while making an eternal impact in those around us! “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Eph. 5:15-16

Who are we to be influenced by? Those who are godly, who will encourage, exhort and inspire you. “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.” (3 John 11) Unbelievers and less mature friends should be influenced by us, not the other way around. When I was younger, my mom used to tell me that if I wanted to play with neighbors that I needed to always be influencing, not being influenced. This is incredibly important because allowing ourselves to be influenced by people that we don’t spur us towards godliness will reap bad fruit. Remember, someone is always influencing; either you are the one influencing or you are being influenced.

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Phil. 1:9-11