Lesson 12 -- third quarter 1999
August 22, 1999
© Copyright 1999, Christian Light Publications
"I have heard say of thee...." You know, people talk. Yes, people talk about all manner of things...and people... even you. What are they saying about you? Is it true? Is it complimentary? Does it give you an occasion to set the record straight and turn the focus to God where it belongs?
I must tell you that I struggle with people talking about me. Either I get bent out of shape because of the negative things out there about me, or I get puffed up out of shape because of the positive things out there about me. (Sounds like a lose-lose life, doesn't it!) So this morning I am particularly challenged by and impressed with Joseph's response: "It is not in me: God shall give."
When people speak evil of me or simply settle for divulging the true-but-negative about me, it should not be in me to react wrongly. I must trust God to give me a right perspective and a right response. If the report is untrue or the facts are misrepresented, I should be satisfied in the assurance that what is said of me is not in me. I should also be satisfied that God shall give me a clear name in His own time and by His own means...to His own glory. When the report is unflatteringly accurate, I must yield to the working of God in my life so that what had been in me no longer is. Even that God shall give!
In those circumstances when others praise me, my abilities or my accomplishments, it should not be in me to react with self-exaltation or false humility. God in me will keep my focus and my response oriented toward Him. May I be so conscious of Him and His working in my life that I see all good in me and from me (recognized by others or not) as His good, not mine. As Paul once wrote: "Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
By the time you read this, anticipation for the new millennium will surely be approximating fever pitch. The expression "Y2K" will no doubt be even more commonplace than it is now, a year earlier. I'm guessing that many folks will be in preparation's high gear...for who knows what. At this stage, I still don't know what the Christian's attitude should be toward this potential source of chaos. But I do know we should not be governed by hysteria or faithlessness.
Should we be preparing for the possibility of some really lean years? I'm no Joseph, so I really don't know. However, I do believe we ought to be prepared to meet needs should the millennium trigger some sort of chaos. We need to have hope to share in the midst of hopelessness.
And we can start now! Hopelessness and fear already abound on every side. What can we offer those snared by these awful predators? Think about this: "Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?"
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