Taking orders is difficult. Like players yelling at the officials in a sports competition, our natural reaction is to rebel against anyone who may exercise their authority over us. When a professor gives us poor marks on a paper we thought was top quality, we instantly feel the need to attack them verbally behind their backs not because we disagree so much but because we despise the idea of the professor being able to do what she likes to our paper.
Does the Bible say that the ends justify the means? In other words, does God care about what we accomplish for him, how we accomplish it, or both? The Bible is very clear that in God’s eyes, the ends never justify sinful means.
In part 1 of this blog series called, “How to be used mightily by God,” we learned that Jesus prepared Peter to be used in great ways by reminding him of his need to listen to Jesus.
Through comparing John 21:1-19 and Luke 5:1-11, we saw how Jesus had to repair the damage Peter had done to himself when he betrayed Jesus. The way Jesus did this was by reminding Peter of how their relationship had begun in the first place.
In part 2 of “How to be used mightily by God” we will talk about three more prerequisite actions Jesus helped Peter do to be prepared for God using him. If we prepare in these three ways as well, God will use us for his purposes.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4
Young children are so simple minded, but man can they create confusion in our lives. As fathers, obviously we are smarter, stronger, and more capable in every way than our young children. So why does it seem like they are always winning the war?
Well, maybe “war” is a bit strong. But all fathers of young children know there really are plenty of parenting battles throughout week, and it can be hard to know if we are doing a good job or not. Thankfully the Bible gives us some really specific advice on what our goals as fathers should be.
Ephesians 6:4 is one of the most specific verses given directly to fathers. So let’s unpack what Ephesians 6:4 means for fathers of young children.
Most Christians desire to give biblical counsel to those in need. Christians have been given amazing insight to humanities’ problems through the wisdom of God found within the Bible. But knowing the truth and counseling other people to understand the truth are entirely different.
So here are 3 tips for Christians who desire to offer biblical counsel to those in need.
Tip 1: Christians Must Show They Care Before They Offer Biblical Counsel
During my years as a pastor, I had a reoccurring experience while counseling people at public places like coffee shops or restaurants. I would be right in the middle of offering biblical counsel to someone and a nearby Christian who neither of us knew would over hear our conversation and chime in with their thoughts.
Friendships are messy. No matter how good a person seems to be, eventually they will wrong you. So what should you do when someone sins against you? First off, the Bible makes clear that how we correct, or don’t correct, depends upon whether the offender claims to be a Christian or a non-Christian.
You Should Not Correct a Non-Christian as You Would a Christian
If he or she does claim to be a Christian, the Bible lays out clear steps on how address that person (Matthew 18:15-20 for peer-to-peer relationships, 1 Timothy 5:19-20 for church authority figures). However, when it comes to unbelievers, a different approach is advised.
“This water taste funny,” I said to my father-in-law as we sat in his mother’s house.
“Oh yeah, don’t drink tap water here. It’s got too much sulfur in it. I mean, it’s okay if you want to, but if you drink too much you’ll just go blind and grow a third nipple.”
A classic response from the notorious prankster in the family. His next words stuck with me though, “Yeah, growing up I always thought the water tasted weird when I would visit other places. It was only when I moved away and came back to visit that I began to realize the bad water was actually here.”
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. . . . – Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV)
Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. – Matthew 27:11-14
Silence can say a lot. Sometimes words are not enough for the most important of messages. Sometimes the most effective answer is to say nothing.
On the surface, it seems everyone had their own reason for wanting to kill Jesus. The Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus because he was rebuking them, leading the crowds away from them, and breaking their traditions. The Jewish people wanted to kill Jesus because he was claiming he was the Son of God. And the Romans wanted to kill Jesus because he was creating riots amongst the Jews. So it seems everyone had their own reason for wanting to kill Jesus.
With a closer look, however, at the reasons the Bible gives on why everyone wanted to kill Jesus, we will find something surprising. The thing that really infuriated people in Jesus’ time on earth is the same thing that infuriates people during our time on earth: a commitment to truth, specifically the truth about Jesus Christ’s deity.
If you were to walk into the ER doctors’ break room, you might be surprised at how calm and casual these men and women are who have just been in life and death situations. Eating food, reading the comics, laughing about something one of the nurses said, only to then step back out to treat a life-threatening gun wound. It might seem an odd thing to look into a bunker full of soldiers at war playing a game of cards before the next mission. To watch a crime scene investigator sip his coffee as he approaches a murder scene might be a bit chilling to the average citizen.