Be Stirred, Not Shaken

"We ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled…" ~ II Thes. 2:2 *** "But stir up the gift of God that is within you by the laying on of hands…" ~ II Tim. 1:6

Tag: thankfulness

Unthankful: Is Ingratitude the Root of Most Sins?

In a previous post about controlling anger, I mentioned that I’d eventually realized that most of the anger I was dealing with stemmed from being unthankful for the many blessings God had given me. And it’s no wonder—we live in an unthankful and entitled society, where everyone takes and believes they have not only the right, but they deserve to have the best. But this is not a mindset Christians are to have, and we have to guard carefully against it. In my previous article, I stated the (rarely-mentioned) opinion that unthankfulness is a major sin, and I want to explore that thought a little further.

Is being unthankful a “little” sin?

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. “I know the major sins—things like murder, adultery, lying, blaspheming—and unthankfulness isn’t anywhere near that!” It’s true that the actual word “unthankful” is only used twice in the bible (KJV), so it’s easy to assume that it’s a minor issue in the grand scheme of things. However, the symptoms of unthankfulness—such as covetousness and anger—are addressed often and in great detail, and we have to be careful about thinking of them as “minor” sins. As Gary Petty often says in his sermons, we usually think of “major” sins as the ones with the greatest outward consequences (like murder) and “minor” ones as the ones that “aren’t that bad” (like gossip). But God doesn’t make those kinds of distinctions. Sin is sin, and all sin results in death if not repented of. And while the outward consequences of unthankfulness aren’t as apparent at first, they still eat away at you bit-by-bit until you die.

Let’s look at the most well-known scripture about unthankfulness:

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (II Tim. 3:1-5)

That’s a lot of bad crammed into a few verses! And “unthankful” is hanging out right next to “unholy”, which is a pretty bad one, so you can’t argue that this list is all “minor” sins. The other verse specifically using the word “unthankful” occurs in Luke 6:35 where Jesus is instructing His disciples on being good to their enemies, for God “is kind to the unthankful and evil.” So even worse, unthankfulness and evil are lumped together in this one. Maybe unthankfulness and its symptoms are a bigger deal than we think?

Read More

Comparison & Envy – The Key to Unhappiness

I recently listened to a three-part sermon series by Andy Stanley, the pastor for a bunch of the Atlanta megachurches, called “The Comparison Trap”.  He talked about the very natural and very destructive habit we have as humans to compare ourselves to each other—what possessions we have, our jobs, our kids, our overall lives.

But while it may be human nature to do this, there’s absolutely no way to win by comparing ourselves to others.  Or as Andy says, “there’s no ‘win’ in comparison”.

There are two sides to comparing ourselves to those around us—one is wanting what they have, while the other is using them to feel better about ourselves and our sins.  Neither is okay.  Comparison is the wide, easy path to both envy and self-righteousness.

“That should be me…” – the path to envy

“Better a handful with quietness [restfulness] than both hands full, together with toil [weariness, worry, travail] and grasping for the wind” (Eccl. 4:6)

In today’s society, the word envy has been softened, de-fanged.  It isn’t used as often as it once was (we typically use “jealousy” instead), but we might say we’re envious of someone’s long eyelashes, or the gorgeous car they’re driving.  We almost never use it in a negative way, but instead use it as a means to give someone a compliment.  If we think about it in a biblical context, it’s often relegated in our minds to a list of “minor” sins like gossip or slander.  However, envy (or jealousy) is frequently and direly warned against in the bible.  Many terrible things happened as a result of people giving in to envy—Joseph being sold into slavery, Cain killing Abel, Saul trying to kill David, the Pharisees delivering Jesus to be killed.  And the New Testament writers included it in many lists of sins, mixing it in there with murder, hate, disobedience, and unrighteousness (Rom. 1:28-34, Gal. 5:19-21, Tit. 3:3).  Why would such attention be paid to this sin that, to us, occurs in our minds and doesn’t seem to be hurting anybody else?

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén