Everywhere these days there seems to be controversies. In the United States there are the candidates running for President as well as the latest Supreme Court Ruling on Gay marriage and cops killing citizens and citizens killing cops, whether to vaccinate children or not vaccinate, what to do about sex-trafficking, on and on are such controversies. Across the world there are power struggles, money struggles, politicians who are corrupt, political upheaval, those who want to leave one country and enter another and all kinds of other situations. Everyone seems to have an opinion and they are shouting them from their computers so I thought I would join in and express my viewpoint on controversies.
As most of you know I am a Christian and as a follower of Christ I have laid down myself for Him. What exactly does that mean, to lay down one’s self? Do I lay around in my PJ’s all day? Hmmm…I plead the 5th on that one! Seriously though, what does it mean to lay down one’s self? Let’s see what process the Apostle Paul wrote about to explain this issue in Ephesians 4:17-24:
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness,(English Standard Version or ESV).
This is pretty clear that as a follower of Christ, we are to not be self-ish, self-centered, self-oriented, self-anything because we have put our ego aside, our id aside, our self aside and we are a new creation. The old self was concerned with money, pride, rights, sex, drunkenness and so forth but we are to abandon that worldly thinking. As a new creature we are to be training our minds and hearts to be like Jesus, so what does that mean? In Colossians 3: 5-11 Paul gives a great definition:
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all, (ESV).
I think that is about as clear of an explanation of what we are to be as new creatures in Christ as can possibly exist. So what does all of this have to do with controversies and me? So glad you asked that question.
I do have personal opinions as I am sure most of you do too. With close personal friends and some family members I may actually share my political beliefs and opinions on the topic of the day. I do not, however, share them with everyone. I try, with emphasis upon the word TRY, I try to contribute something positive, something helpful, and something scriptural because I have laid aside my personal opinion for the good of the Gospel, for the good of all those around me, for unity within the Church family. Arguing rarely brings a solution when heated emotions are involved. Logical discussion minus personal attacks can, however, bring about solutions to almost any problem. The Apostle Paul wrote to his protegé Timothy with some valuable insight upon controversial subjects:
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain, 1 Timothy 6:3-5, ( ESV).
Much of the world thinking is a different doctrine than what Jesus taught, wouldn’t you say? We need to be clear about what we believe and we need to base our belief upon solid teachings and not be prideful or conceited. I have met people who Paul has described perfectly, puffed up, full of pride and conceit, ready to be dogmatic and quarrel with everything and anything. To be honest, it is a perfect description of me in some periods of my life and I am ashamed to admit this truth. Such a person is ready for a fight and I personally don’t like to be around such a person. Do you?
Any teaching that does not meet the Scripture test is false. If we measure our personal and political beliefs on the teachings of the Bible we won’t be following a false teaching. We have a ton of false teachings going on in the world today. From many avenues we have people who are trying to bring their opinion to us, politicians, pop stars, reality stars, sports stars, and even within the Church there are stars. I urge you to make sure the star you follow leads down the right path because the Apostle Peter tells us clearly what happens to false teachers.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep, 2 Peter 2:1-3, (ESV).
How do I handle controversies? I read about them and try to educate myself upon the facts and then I go to the Bible and see what is written about the issue. If the Bible is silent on the subject then I believe I should be silent as well. But if the Bible teaches that the issue is right or wrong, then I adjust my thinking to line up with the Bible. If there is a logical discussion in which I can enter into, then I will voice my opinion graciously and kindly. If the person I am having the discussion with becomes hostile then I know that they are not ready to hear the Gospel and I remain silent and go about my business in a gracious manner. I am not without opinions or facts but I will not burden you with my beliefs if you don’t desire to hear them. I believe this is what it means to lay aside self because I represent Christ and only His opinion should come shining through me to you. That is why I present so many verses from the Bible in my posts on this blog. I don’t want my opinion to come through but the opinion of the only one that matters to me, Jesus Christ. I hope to make you think as well as bring comfort but most of all I want to point you to Jesus to see for yourself why His way is my guide in life.
Until next time……..Katherine