Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Oh shiny!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Psalm 119:33-48

TO CHEW ON: “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.” Psalm 119:37

Are you attracted by beautiful things? By the tempting challenges that promise to further your career? By the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that might just set you up for the foreseeable? Oh shiny!

The Bible has a lot to say, indirectly and directly, about what we see and respond to.

  • Way back in Eden it was the sight of that tempting fruit that first got Eve in trouble (Genesis 3:6).
  • Lot too was attracted by the sight of that well-watered Jordanian plain. It drew him to move close to corrupt Sodom (Genesis 3:10,12).
  • Achan’s eyes got him in trouble when they dwelt on the beautiful Babylonian garment, the silver and the gold. His covetous look led to taking, hiding, and a whole lot of trouble for him, his clan, and Israel (Joshua 7:21 - read the whole story in Joshua 7:10-26).
  • Rich and wise King Solomon made several observations about setting one’s eyes on and directing one’s life by the attractive. By his own admission he lived that way (Ecclesiastes 2:4-8). And though he claimed to have kept his wisdom (Ecclesiastes 2:9), in the end all he went after turned out to be futile (Ecclesiastes 2:11). His advice: Go ahead and let your heart follow your eyes, but there will come a day of reckoning for this (Ecclesiastes 11:9).
  • Even Jesus faced the temptation of the attractive (Matthew 4:8). He was not taken in. And on that mountaintop of temptation, Satan’s proffered exchange exposed what’s at stake here: “‘All these things I will give you if You will fall down and worship me” - Matthew 4:8 (emphasis added).

Perhaps that last is key to unveiling what’s behind such “Oh Shiny!” temptations for us too.  Their appeal and our response to them reveals to us and the world what our heart is worshiping. So the prayer of the psalmist becomes as relevant today as ever.

PRAYER: “Incline my heart to Your testimonies
And not to covetousness.
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things.
And revive me in Your way” Amen.

MORE: Extracurricular
Another passage that we might consider when facing the “shiny” opportunities and challenges that come our way is Paul’s advice to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:4,

“No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”

We might ask—is this shiny possession / opportunity / deal, consistent with my role in the Kingdom of God? Or will it prove a distraction?

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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