I was following a rabbit trail during my morning Bible Study in the book of Philippians over the weekend and ended up ordering a Kindle book called “Be Joyful” by Dr. Warren Wiesbe. This book was originally published in 1974 and is part of the popular “Be” commentary series which boasts of over four million copies in print. I actually had never heard of this writer but since I was enthusiastically studying Philippians, I thought it might be helpful to read a commentary that stresses the “Joy” aspect I have always enjoyed in this letter.
It was kind of interesting for me from the very get-go as I began to read from the book later that day. The introduction was written by another Pastor who in the midst of his description of the book noted a few things about the Apostle Paul that I have come to disagree with through personal study on the particular subject. Then when I was barely into the first chapter I ran into another statement that I did not agree with. When I read these, my immediate thought was “Oh! Here we go again…” and I was very tempted to write off the ten dollars I spent on the book as a mistake and delete it from my Kindle library!
But you know… Something inside of me made me stop and think for a moment or two as I remembered something I had read and heard many times while at Bible School. One of the favorite lines given to us by many of the instructors was a bit of advice given by the man who had originally established the school when he encouraged his readers and students to “Eat the hay and spit out the sticks!”
That same something inside of me gave me the sense that there were some important lessons that I could learn from this book and even if I didn’t agree with the author on every point and that I could still learn from his years of pastoral experience and Biblical study. So with a smile and nod of agreement, I plunged into the book. I’ve been learning over the last few years how we should spend a lot less time complaining about the things that we disagree with others about and focus instead on where we do agree!
One of the first ideas that I caught in my new book was the statement of how Paul did not look at Christ through his circumstances, but rather looked at his circumstances through Christ… and how that changed EVERYTHING! Then a few moments later as I was speaking our healing scriptures over my wife when I was getting her up for the day, I realized that our speaking out the Word over and into my wife and our day, was following the same idea that Paul had.
In effect we were covering the upcoming circumstances of our day with the filter of God’s Word. Each morning we establish within ourselves how we are going to look at and experience whatever comes our way! It reminded me of the movie “Battleship” that we watched over the weekend. At one point the aliens who supposedly land in Hawaii put up an umbrella like force field that totally encapsulates a certain area and shields those inside from any outside influences.
In our case, the Word that we speak out first thing every morning and last thing before we turn out the lights at night, is like that force field that insulates and protects us from the negative outside influences that come our way. That Word stays fresh in our hearts and minds and helps us to see and handle the situations and circumstances of our daily lives through the wisdom, love, patience, power and infinite grace of God and His ways.
And according to the book of Philippians… it affords us to live in a state of JOY that is independent of whatever is going on around us. Hmmmmmm… I like that idea!
So, have a great day as you look at the circumstances of the week ahead through the force field of God and His Word… and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What FORCE am I expecting to filter the view of my world today?”