Friday, January 7, 2011

Senses and Sensibilities

1-5The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. These liars have lied so well and for so long that they've lost their capacity for truth. They will tell you not to get married. They'll tell you not to eat this or that food—perfectly good food God created to be eaten heartily and with thanksgiving by believers who know better! Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks. Nothing is to be sneered at and thrown out. God's Word and our prayers make every item in creation holy.
(I Timothy 4:1-5)

There are so many fads out there today that it is sometimes difficult to "ferret out" what has validity and what is just a bunch of hype.  This is especially true with present day changes in the economy - with every new day bringing some differing interpretation of what comes next, how to invest so you don't lose it all, and the paranoia over who can be trusted to be telling the truth.  Each dawning of a new year brings the renewed focus on diet and exercise - hundreds of commercials airing daily to entice viewers to join this club, buy this instant weight loss product, or choose this diet plan as the "best".  So, how is a person to "ferret out" the correct message in what they are hearing?

The more voices that are speaking, the harder it becomes to have clarity in what we listen to.  The sheer volume of voices create either a sense of attentiveness or a sense of "ill-ease" that gets us "caught up" in the hype.  There is one thing I learned about God's plan for his kids - his voice is seldom the loudest!  It is also seldom the one most frequently heard.  Look at what Paul was telling Timothy:  God's Word and our prayers make every item in creation holy.  If we seek the wisdom of the Word and blanket what we learn there in prayer, we take steps of faith that God will honor.  

There is a tendency to listen to the promises that "appeal" to our senses or our sensibilities.  We discount those that do not.  This is not always the rational way to live!  Sometimes our "senses" and our "sensibilities" are being swayed by the loudest voice!  Example:  Several years back, a famous diet fad included not eating carbs and gorging on fatty foods just because they were labeled as proteins.  At first, this seemed appealing because one did not have to exercise any type of "limit" on intake as long as it "fit in the right food group".  So, thousands jumped on the wagon!  Why?  It appealed to their senses.  They did not have to exercise "much" willpower - only stay away from carbs.

Okay, I admit, I tried it for a couple weeks!  I was miserable!  No carbs is like a day without sunshine!  The first day I was all gung-ho and committed beyond measure.  By the end of the first week, my body was telling me I actually needed those carbs!  I needed those building blocks to create new cells and to promote health.  In fact, I began to have problems concentrating, having creative thought, etc.  Needless to say, I "converted" back to a balanced diet and amazingly felt much better.  Guess what?  They key was not in what I ate, but in the quantity of what I ate and the amount of exercise I combined with the intake.  Hmmm....who woulda thunk?

The same is true in our daily choices about money, relationships, career, and the vast opportunities to entertain every new idea that comes down the path.  Yes, we are in a "budgetary crisis" in our country and our state.  Yet, if we live wisely, spending according to a plan, living within our means instead of fulfilling every "want" by placing it on credit, we will likely do well in this season.  Yes, we are faced with new diseases called "super-bugs" all the time.  Yet, if we care for our bodies well, use excellent hand hygiene, and avoid practices that expose us to these "killers", we will likely avoid them.  We need balance in our thinking - it is found in the Word and time in prayer.

This is a new year - the opportunity for many "new" things in our lives.  Let's strive to keep things in right order - God first, his counsel guiding us along the way!  When we commit to him first, we gravitate to his Word for counsel.  When we see what his Word has to say, it is natural to want to "discuss" it with him - to seek clarity, to understand well.  So, prayer is an outcome of our study.  If we stop looking for what appeals to our senses and our sensibilities and instead seek what God knows will make us sensible, we will be in a better place at the end of the year!