Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Meditations: Quirky and Thankful

My middle name is Jeanette, but is should be Quirky. I have so many odd traits that I stand out wherever I go. For instance, when I eat cream-filled sandwich cookies, I have to pull them apart and place perfectly divided portions of cream on each of the sides before I eat them. That’s weird. I eat my macaroni and cheese with mustard. Strange. How about the fact that I talk to my Bible? Now if that doesn’t earn me the title of being quirky, I don’t know what will.

Sadly, I talk to my Bible much like talking to myself. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but sometimes, I have a running dialog with whatever I reading. Like, while reading the miracles of Jesus, I may whisper, “That’s amazing.” Or if David’s laments in Psalms 3 touch my heart, I’ll say “Dude, I know exactly how you feel.”

But sometimes, my dialog gets a little on the snarky side. Like, I may yell at Solomon, “Ok, I get it. It’s all vanity! Please don’t say it again.” Paul often incurs my sarcasm because he says things that boggle the mind.

For instance, Paul says in Ephesians 5:20, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” To which I said “You’ve got to be kidding me. Everything? Really, everything?”

How in the world am I supposed to do that? Talk about quirky behavior. Imagine walking around saying, “I’m broke. Thank you, Lord.” Or “I’m going to be evicted next week. Thank you, Lord.” How about “Thank you, God for this pink slip. I appreciate being unemployed.” Now that kind of talk will earn you a psychological evaluation.

As much as I think it would be challenging to live out that commandment, Paul admonishes us to do so loud and clear. But since were talking about being weird, what if we actually tried? Most of us would think being thankful in difficult situations is utterly ridiculous and we don’t even try.

But I think that if we do one thing, which is follow the instructions in the previous scriptures, it may be easier than we think. Ephesians 5:18-19 reads, “Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts;” When we are filled and controlled by the Spirit, we can give thanks in everything.

This passage shows a clear picture of joy. The Holy Spirit fills and controls us, and we go around singing like drunken people. Because being under the control of the Spirit means that bad things aren’t really bad things. If we are controlled by the Spirit, whatever situation we find ourselves in, we are in the will of God. And when you are walking in God’s will, all things work together for the good.

So you can say, “Lord, I thank you that I’m broke because You’re going to supply all my need.” And you can say, “Lord I thank you because I may be evicted from this physical house, but I dwell under Your shadow.” When you’re filled and controlled by the Spirit, you rejoice in trials, celebrate when people persecute and you can give thanks in all things.

Yes, join me on the quirky side. Give thanks in everything. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

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