Sunday, March 15, 2015

My backside isn't defended very well

We have a group of people in our lives who worry about everything, don't we?  They find some disaster far, far away - totally removed from them - and worry about how it will affect them or those they love.  I was driving home the other day and caught just a little of the newscast revealing the last Ebola patient has gone home from the hospital in Liberia. Another 40 plus days and they will be declared to be Ebola free in that nation.  Then came the report of the next possible places for outbreaks, all based on their poor healthcare system and lack of sanitation in their countries.  The moment of celebration was absolutely lost when the next few seconds were dedicated to painting the ugliness of potential outbreak.  It was like saying all the hard work to eradicate it in Liberia was good, but those who are not as far along in their prevention methods will be next.  I don't think the intended purpose was to keep people from traveling, but if you are at all inclined to get a little paranoid about the possibility of contracting disease, it would certainly put a damper on your desires!  You might not ever venture out again, especially if you let your imagination carry you away into the places fear can let you go!  Herein is the dilemma each of us face every day.  We have all kinds of input into our sensory system - sight, hearing, smell, touch, and even taste.  What we choose to do with that input is entirely up to us.  We can let it in, give it a place to dwell and take root, or we can reject it as something not particularly worthy of our attention.  This is where common sense and sound judgment begin to play an important part in what we entertain in our minds, how these things will be allowed to affect us, and what we do with them once they attempt to get an inroad.  We don't need "words from on high" to tell us to avoid these things which just don't do us any good, or will steer us down a wrong path. We just need to use the common sense and good judgment God has already given us!

My child, use common sense and sound judgment! Always keep them in mind.  They will help you to live a long and beautiful life. You will walk safely and never stumble; you will rest without a worry and sleep soundly. So don’t be afraid of sudden disasters or storms that strike those who are evil. You can be sure that the Lord will protect you from harm. (Proverbs 3:21-26 CEV)

Look at the passage again - common sense and sound judgment are to be "kept in mind" - meaning their influence is mostly upon our mind.  They influence what it is we do with thought - which ultimately will effect our actions, but they are used most commonly in our thought life.  Look at the influence they can have over our thought life.  The use of common sense and sound judgment can actually help us live a long and beautiful life, not to mention helps us sleep without worry, and walk without stumbling.  Now, that is a pretty good enough reason for me to want to use both of these things in my "filtering" of what it is I let into my senses!  I don't want to stumble and I certainly value a good night's sleep. It doesn't end there - they actually give us a basis to stand upon to reject those things which would make us want to become fearful and caught up in the anxiety of life's unknowns.  

All along throughout the first couple of chapters of Proverbs, Solomon has reminded us of the importance of allowing God's Word to create a sense of direction for our lives.  We know this comes through the influence of the Spirit of God who indwells us. Whenever I think of the things God has given us to assist us in our daily walk, I like to divide them into two parts. The first are those things which help to defend us from attack, and the second are those things which we can actually use to be on the offensive (proactive) in our lives.  We need both, because one without the other actually leaves us a little "open for attack".  For example, we can have a whole lot of defensive techniques or tactics, but if we don't ever do anything proactively to stem off the attacks, we will always be in the midst of the attacks!

This is often were sound judgment and common sense come into play.  When we are prone to some particular habit, such as excessive drinking or eating, the last thing we need to do is constantly visit the bars or restaurants!  We are not exercising sound judgment when we keep putting ourselves in the places where our habits are actually nurtured!  It is no different than fighting off a hugely devastating disease such as Ebola.  In order to eradicate it, certain consistent techniques have to be employed.  Some are defensive - such as the use of the right medical treatment to cure those infected.  Others are offensive - such as teaching healthcare workers, communities, and entire countries how to avoid the spread.  One compliments the other just as common sense and sound judgment compliment each other.

When you look at the armor of a soldier, you might be surprised to see his "coverage" is really on the front side of his body.  The Kevlar vest only really covers his chest.  The helmet only covers his head.  The rest of the body is kind of exposed!  Sure, he has a rifle, pistol, knife, and maybe a few other weapons, but in general there are a whole lot of other exposed areas in his armor.  How does he protect those areas?  He has to be on the offensive as much as he can in order to be ready when he needs to be defending himself in combat! The same is true when it comes to the spiritual and emotional attacks we are under each and every day.  We need to be fully "armored", but we also need to be able to show some offensive tactics, as well.  Just sayin!