Friday, August 10, 2018
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true…
John 7:18 He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
I recently discovered something rather significant about myself. I have the tendency to shift loyalties based on personal honor. As a young boy I grew up in the state of Michigan, and during my late elementary and middle school years, we lived about three hours north of Detroit. It was the early 1960’s, and because of my grandfather and my mother, I became a huge baseball fan. I remember all the greats of the game from that era, and still have a connection to the old time American League teams like the Indians, Yankees and Red Sox. But one team has been my lifelong favorite – the Detroit Tigers.
Ever since their last World Series victory in 1984, they have been on a serious skid. In the last 34 years, they have one of the worst overall records in baseball. There have been a few years where it looked like they would be champions again, but overall I have become disillusioned with their management and performance. I still keep my memorabilia from the past, but I have lost interest in following them today. In fact, just a few weeks ago I cleaned out my garage and threw away a Tigers baseball cap.
On the other hand, for the last 20 years, I have been somewhat following the Minnesota Twins. I have gained respect for their team because of their philosophy of developing players into champions rather than buying players that may already be champions. I love their style of baseball, and I appreciate their team chemistry and camaraderie.
I find that I am rooting for the Twins more than the Tigers. This causes me great consternation because suddenly I question my loyalties. Am I becoming a fan who shifts loyalties based on which team is winning? I certainly hope not, and I will fight that shallow tendency. I have analyzed my feelings and the logic of all of this and have come to this conclusion – whichever team wins I will take pride in saying I am a fan. I don’t like that about myself, because I don’t personally believe you can be a true fan of two teams. But I’m not ready to make a choice yet.
I’m sure by now you are asking yourself, “What does all of this baseball talk have to do with Scripture?” We all have a choice to make about the truth by which we will live. We will either live by the truth that we have the right to live for the honor of self, or we will live by the truth that we will live for the honor of Jesus Christ. Every day we must make that choice. In every social situation we must make that choice. In every relationship we must make that choice. We choose to either conform to the circumstances of our life so that we can be accepted and fit in, or we choose to live consistently by the unchangeable truth that no matter what happens, Jesus is Lord.
Jesus said that he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Accordingly, the opposite of that statement must also be true: he who works for the honor of self is not a man of truth, and everything is false about him.
We have all experienced the unpleasantness of being in the company of someone who is constantly changing their position on issues to please the people they are with. But are we willing to evaluate our own lives and see the unpleasantness we cause Jesus when we do the same thing to Him? Can we honestly say that we live every moment of every day according to the truth of Jesus Christ? Are we seeking to honor Him in every part of our day and in every choice we make, with no attempt to honor self?
Our answer to those questions is probably no. For some, it is because we have given up trying. We accept the human limitations of living in perfection. For others, it is just not important. But for God, it is vital. Paul’s challenge is to have our minds so transformed by the saving power of Jesus Christ that we think only in accordance with His truth.
Every day we are bombarded by a Godless culture with man’s attempt to eliminate moral truth and live only to honor self. We must, as the people of God, choose to think and act according to God’s truth. We must not let emotions and personal rights interfere with our decision to think on the things of God.
We decide every day whether we will honor self or honor God, and that choice makes us either liars or people of truth. Let the truth set you free to live fully for Jesus Christ.
By the way, to be true to who I am, win or lose, GO TIGERS!