So, I woke up this morning, got the coffee started, and did what I usually do while I'm waiting for it: check email, check the news, check Facebook and Twitter. In the course of those activities, I read something by a Christian "feminist," that made me want to get on my horse.
There I was, after my coffee was ready, poised to hop on. I had one foot in the stirrup and was about to hoist myself on top when I realized I can't drink and ride a horse at the same time. I didn't do it.
Instead, I did something far more constructive. I decided to open my Bible to read for a bit before posting my thankful thoughts. I'm reading through a book called Ancient Devotions and the New Testament Scripture passage for this week is Romans 12:9-21. As I read, these imperatives began to challenge and comfort me:
Let love be genuine (v.9)
Abhor what is evil (v.9)
hold fast to what is good (v.9)
Love one another with brotherly affection (v.10)
Outdo one another in showing honor (v.10)
Do not be slothful in zeal (v.11)
Be fervent in spirit (v.11)
Serve the Lord (v.11)
Rejoice in hope (v. 12)
Be patient in tribulation (v.12)
Be constant in prayer (v.12)
Contribute to the needs of the saints (v.13)
Seek to show hospitality (v.13)
Bless those who persecute you (v.14)
Do not curse them (v.14)
Rejoice with those who rejoice (v.15)
Weep with those who weep (v.15)
Live in harmony with one another (v.16)
Do not be haughty (v.16)
Associate with the lowly (v.16)
Never be wise in your own sight (v.16)
Repay no one for evil (v.17)
Give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all (v.17)
Live peceably with all men (v.18)
Never avenge yourselves (v.19)
Leave it to the wrath of God (v.19)
If your enemy is hungry, feed him (v.20)
If he is thirsty give him something to drink (v.20)
Do not overcome by evil (v.21)
Overcome evil with good (v. 21)
Paul has just spent eleven chapters discussing the gospel. It's a masterpiece, really. When he gets to that "therefore" in Romans 12:1, in those wonderful verses, he's giving us a map of what the Christian life looks like. While there is room for confronting voices that need to be confronted, and perhaps times for people to "ride their horses," this picture of how I am to live is so overwhelming, I wonder how I can ever manage it. I surely cannot do it on my own. Verse 3 has already prepared what my overall attitude is, and that is to not esteem myself more highly than I ought. Sometimes, that's a tall order for us, isn't it?
The verses about not avenging myself hit hard, because there are just some individuals out there who have a very loud voice whom I struggle to feel an ounce of charity toward. I am to live peaceably with all men. I am to have a vastly different attitude toward those with whom I disagree than what my natural inclination wants to do.
So, all that to say this: I'm thankful today that I didn't get on my horse.