Too Nice By Far
Holy God, teach me to walk with You, to wait upon You, and to worship You. I bless Your name today.
Read PROVERBS 22:1-16
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Jesus said, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16).
This might not be standard evangelical fare, but sometimes we Christians can be too nice. Putting Jesus first is not the same as abusing yourself. Some of us are afflicted by a kind of residual niceness left over from our pre-Christian days or one that’s a borrowed virtue from a world that can’t face the truth. Some don’t have this problem, of course. Thoughtlessness or selfish brutality is not the answer to exaggerated niceness; realism about the way the world and the heart work are.
So avoid a wet, insipid spirituality that’s so nice it makes you pretend not to care what people think of you. Don’t try to be so humble that you no longer care how people speak of you. Self-deprecation is not necessarily godly. After all, God cares about his name and therefore we should care not only about his name, but also our own. This is wise: life is better when your name is not being dragged through the mud because of something that you’ve done or left undone. Granted, no one can prevent malicious talk entirely, but you can live so as to deprive the malicious of at least some ammunition.
How? Think ahead and be canny (“prudent,” v. 3). Fear the Lord and be properly humble (4). Don’t walk with the wicked (5). Raise your children faithfully (6,15): they will carry your name forward. Calm your temper (8) and sow gifts generously (9), for both will yield their harvests. Protect yourself and others from those who like to belittle people with their cruel speech (10). Check what kind of heart and speech you admire and aspire to (11). Don’t be a lazy couch potato (13). These are nine simple ways to keep your name out of the mud.
Choose one of the nine from this list. Pray that it may make a difference in your life today. Pray through the benefits to other people of putting it into action.
Lord, there are so many aspects of my life that I need to work on. Grant me discernment and wisdom as I seek to be the person that You want me to be.
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