Marching Orders

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

Joshua 1:7

No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

2 Timothy 2:4

Do you ever stop and think about why you do what you do?  I ask because when our anxiety reaches a boiling point, we do what we do, when we do what we do.  Sounds like something Yoda would say isn’t it?  What I mean is that we each have a default reaction during anxiety, and if you are not aware of it, you will flip a switch and react in that way, even if it goes against your values, or the desired outcome for the circumstance.  I share this because as human beings we are easily distracted, and are quick to forget what or why we are doing something.  This verse is written to a young church leader, encouraging him to remember his calling, to fix his eyes on it, and not waiver.

You open your inbox at work, and see a number of passive aggressive emails filled with hurtful language that takes personal attacks at you and some other co-workers.  The worst part, it is someone who is a friend of yours.  What is the desired outcome you want?  For most of us our natural response in moments of anxiousness, is to turn, and fire a handful of arrows right at the heart of the sender of that message, seeking to equally hurt them, and to “put them in their place.”  You might also go around to co-workers and speak poorly of the sender of that message with the same intent.  Worse yet, you have a conviction that God has called you to be a witness for Him to your co-workers.  So stop for a moment, what is your desired outcome?  If you still want to be friends with that person, and you care for their well-being, what has your email, and talking behind their back accomplished?  Likely deeper and more significant damage to the very relationship you value. If you are seeking to be a witness for God, what impact will your angry, hurtful, response have on your witness in the office?

This is as challenging, if not more so, when it comes to church and other Christians.  It’s easy to make decisions around budgets, ministries, and outcomes that we like.  Do we stop often enough to ask, what is God’s preferred outcome?  If we believe God is calling us to be a witness for Him, to bring people far from him back, to introduce people to Him who have never met Him, will each of our decisions support that, or work against it?  In the heat of moment, we can find ourselves making decisions that work more to calm our anxiety, to keep us comfortable, than to remain faithful to God’s calling on our lives.  Can we step back in the heat of the moment and fix our eyes on the calling and direction of God, or will we fall into the trap of doing what we do, when we do what we do?

Pastor Bill