Code To Live By PART 1
A mixture of morality and wisdom needful – yet oft-neglected and overlooked, by Christians today.
- Behavior makes genuine, not feelings.
1.1. A modern problem that seems to be fairly common, is thinking that for something to be genuine, it must be accompanied by feelings that are consistent/congruent with the action (e.g. My words are not genuine if I say, “I love you” to someone I feel anger or distaste or even hatred toward). This is the basis behind John Piper’s book (and subsequent ministry empire), Desiring God (“Duty without delight is not genuine or acceptable to God).
1.2. This however is not how God sees things or expects us to operate. Our behavior is what matters – not how we feel. Hence why it wb a judgment according to works NOT feelings. This (in turn) means also that it is behavior (or actions) that make something genuine or acceptable, not how we feel about it.
1.3. Biblical examples that require understanding this distinction (As it relates to God = Joh 3:16 w/Psa 11:5; Mar 14:32-39; As it re: to God & Us = Mat 5:44; As it re: to Us = 1Pe 2:18, 3:1; a child being told to do something by their parent when they don’t feel like it; a husband getting up in the middle of the night in a blizzard to go to the store and get medicine for his wife).
1.4. The first requirement of denying (or dying to) self (i.e. self-control) is divorcing your feelings from your actions. IOW: there doesn’t need to be a correlation nor should the latter ever be determining the former. BTW: this is also the kind of denying/dying to self associated with taking up our cross and following Christ (Mat 16:24-27 – notice, God will repay according to what we do NOT what we feel). This is why Paul includes self-control in his summary of the gospel (Act 24:25).
- You lose control when you lose control.
2.1. Everybody wants to be boss. There is however, few worst consequences than the consequence associated with being a bad boss. IOW: Bad bosses will – according to Scripture, suffer a more severe judgment than those unrighteous who were never bosses or in positions of authority. Hence the reason (Jam 3:1; Luk 12:48).
2.2. How one knows they are a bad boss = you have no control of those under your charge.
2.3. Losing control of yourself is how you lose control of those under your charge (and become a bad boss). IOW: threatening and lording it over under your charge does not work. Though it may seem like you have control through such things, it is a temporary illusion at best. Nobody likes a boss whose primary mechanism for leading is intimidation (i.e. threatening/lording it over). They will despise rather than respect you. In time, they will rebel or leave the moment something better comes around. Hence why (Eph 5:9; 1Pe 5:2-3; 2Ti 2:24; Ecc 8:5-10).
2.4. This is true for husbands/parents as well as bosses in the workplace/church/govt/coaches.
2.5. What does it look like to lose control? Or to be a person out of control? The opposite of self-control. It means that your actions/attitude is determined by how you feel NOT what is wise or righteous. Additional scripture to consider in this regard (Pro 16:32, 17:27-28, 29:11; Ecc 7:9).
- EDM is dangerous sin.
3.1. EDM = envy driven malice. Defining the terms (envy = feelings of unhappiness due to the success of someone else who has not unjustly received their success; malice = desiring the downfall/failure of someone who has not been unjust). And this envy driven malic is (as I said), serious sin.
3.2. It is the reason the Jews handed over Jesus to be crucified (Mat 27:18). They did not like the fact that He was receiving more of God’s power and blessings than were they even though the reason this was true was because His actions/performance was more righteous than theirs. Envy driven malice is therefore what we might call a “gateway sin” since (if not repented/turned away from) will lead people into additional sin (e.g. slander, murder). Another reason then for why I say it is a dangerous sin – it leads to other sin.
3.3. Additionally, envy driven malice means that we are not acknowledging (being thankful to) God Who created this world and its principles of success. We are instead fighting against His design. Envy driven malice therefore also indicates that we still possess a debased mind, are slanderers of our fellow man (e.g. believing and spreading lies about those who are successful for the right reasons to tear them down) and those who deserve to die.
Never should we therefore practice it nor give approval to others who do it, lest we desire to be under God’s wrath and ultimately damned (Rom 1:28-32; 1Co 5:8; Eph 4:31; Col 3:8; Tit 3:3; 1Pe 2:1).
3.4. What are God’s principles/design for success? Commitment, hard work, wisdom, sacrifice, perseverance, skill, grit and execution. The degree to which you possess and practice these, will determine the degree of success you have in this life or in what you are attempting to accomplish). As Christians, we must be those who stand against envy driven malice and instead support and praise anyone who follows such principles and are successful since to do so is not only acknowledging God’s sovereign design, but promoting it. IOW: this is one of the ways we promote/advance His kingdom in this world – by promoting and praising His ways/principles where we find them being practiced.
3.5. What makes this particular issue one I consider to be “oft-neglected” or overlooked by even Christians. The fact that we live in a world filled with people whose debased (and wicked) minds love to hate and rejoice in the failure of anyone who is too successful – or successful for too long – even those whose success was achieved in the right way – by God’s principles/design (commitment, hard work, wisdom, sacrifice, perseverance, skill, grit and execution) (Ecc 4:4).
3.6. How easy then would it be for Christians to be caught up in this sin without even knowing they are doing it? PRETTY EASY! Not only that but how detrimental would it be to my witness for Christ? I claim to promote God’s ways in the world YET I am caught up in all the stupidity and foolish sin of the world. Why would they want to listen to me when I am just as foolish and debased as them?
3.7. The reason I included this on the list of items to talk about today (versus as part of what I will be discussing next week) is because this SUNDAY provides the perfect example of such envy driven malice = The New England Patriots. The Patriots are “America’s most hated team” SOLELY because of envy driven malice. People hate them because they have experienced more success than everybody else – even though the reason for that success is due to following God’s principles/design. They have outperformed every other team in commitment, hard work, wisdom, sacrifice, perseverance, skill, grit and execution. If you don’t believe that then you are either completely ignorant of their philosophy as a team/organization, and are in denial of how they beat your team (b/c it wasn’t luck or by cheating they did it. It was due to possessing a greater degree of commitment, hard work, wisdom, sacrifice, perseverance, skill, grit and execution than your team). That (btw) is generally always true when one team beats another in American sports (and we should be thankful for that – iow: that our sporting events are not rigged for cheaters).
3.8. That being said, envy driven malice is the reason the Patriots are slandered as cheaters (“they are successful b/c they are cheaters”). IOW: this is the edge that makes someone truly successful in the NFL – cheating. The more someone cheats (then), the more successful they will be (in the NFL).
3.9. Such thinking truly reveals people to have not only a debased mind – but to also be massive hypocrites. Why do I say that? B/C as it relates to cheating violations, the Patriots are below average in this area in comparison to the rest of the teams in the NFL. According to MyTeamCheats.com, the Patriots score a “26” whereas the team most penalized for cheating scores a “53”. And that team is the Denver Broncos.
3.10. It is worth noting that the worst offense that a team can be penalized for is the use of PEDs. In this category, the Patriots are one of the best in the league, whereas the Denver Broncos are (again) the worst of all the teams in the NFL (12x since 2003, including players such as Derek Wolfe, Wes Welker, Von Miller). Former Bronco Shannon Sharpe is quoted as saying in regard to this issue and his former team, “Everyone indicts the Seahawks for PEDs use, but the Broncos have been much worse”. The Broncos have also been guilty of salary cap violations twice. Both were at the time of their super bowl appearances in 97 and 98. To have room to buy other players and build a better team, players Terrell Davis and John Elway were listed as taking extremely low pay, when in reality their total pay was much higher and compensated for through Pay Bowlen’s personal “outside-the-cap” funding. The Broncos were fined almost 2 million for this illegal action (though they did get to keep their super bowl trophies and winnings).
3.12. Being a Christian does not require that you be a Patriots fan, but it does require that your reasons for rooting against someone not be unjust. Sports are not some “free-zone” for acting wickedly and it not counting (e.g. what if someone said they didn’t like the Broncos b/c they had a black coach, would that be okay – or not sin they neede to repent of?) It does therefore matter why we choose to dislike something (even a team!).
As Christians, we are again called to respect and honor all those (people, teams, companies, etc) who succeed through doing things the right way. It is NEVER okay to stand against or desire the downfall of someone –If the reason for this desire is due to their success – especially when their success is not unjust. To do so means we are no different than those who murdered Jesus. We are guilty of envy-driven malice (and probably the other sins that go alone with it: slander, hypocrisy, etc.). And such people God will condemn (especially those who approve of it in others – e.g. you laugh or post junk against such groups).
3.13. We need therefore to pay close attention to ourselves, and repent where we find envy driven malice against anyone. May this Super Bowl Sunday find none of God’s people guilty of envy driven malice.