Thursday, March 8, 2007

Minding your business

1 Peter 4:14-15

14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.

We have all heard that children learn best by repetition. Well, that is the way God always works with me. He gives me a verse once and then I get it through sermons, a friend, or Bible study about three times. I always know when He gives it to me a couple of times that He is really wanting to drive a point home to my heart. Well, this week I have been “getting” 1 Peter 4. I was reading a sermon a couple of nights ago about having a memory that “shuns evil” and breaks sins grip. The sermon was very lengthy so I will give you a brief synopsis. It was explaining 1 Peter 4 and how through our sufferings and learning from our past sins that we are able to “arm yourselves with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” Don’t we all want to be done with sin and live for the will of God? I do…but like Paul speaks of in Romans 7 we will constantly have the struggle with our sin nature verses our Spirit man. They are in constant opposition to one another. Buddy preached on persecution last night and suffering for Christ’s sake. As I heard the word last night there is one thing really stood out to me…what about the times when we think we are suffering because of being a Christian but truthfully we are suffering because of our own disobedience to God’s word?? In some way we have hardened our heart and it (heart) has become calloused and rebellious to God’s words over a specific area and we put our hands over our ears and by our actions we deny the truth…and we suffer the consequences. It is so easy at times to blame everything on the enemy or spiritual warfare and maybe even persecution but in reality we are suffering due to our own willful disobedience (Can I get a witness). Then I came to verses 14 and 15: vs. 15 says this: “If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler (emphasis mine).” I really want to focus in on the word meddler. I think particularly as women this is one we are prone to: meddling. The Greek word for meddler here is Allotriepiskopos. I really want to spend a few minutes expounding upon this word here so I am going to give you the definition for it out of the lexical aids.

“superintendent, overseer, inspector. Meddler, intermeddler, snoop, busybody. The word designates someone who interferes in other people’s business or concerns, one who arrogates the authority to correct others without invitation. It denotes more than just a nosy neighbor, but someone who attempts to dictate behavior, usurp control, one who sets about with much fuss to tell others how they ought to conduct matters, a moral crusader. Such a person is officious, a pesky, picky, carping, and complaining individual who acts as another’s “boss.” Unwarranted intrusion into the affairs of others, be it personal, communal, or political, makes one an allotriepiskopos (1 Peter 4:15). Some scholars have attributed more sinister and nefarious meanings to this word: thief, embezzler, pilferer (one who illicitly acquires control of another’s goods); revolutionist, insurrectionist (one who attempts to gain political power through revolution), spy, tattler, snitch, (one who secretly watches over other matters and reports what he sees), voyeur, Peeping Tom, eavesdropper (one who watches others in secret for perverse reasons). However, the phrase in 1 Peter 4:15, “or even as,” indicates something less than criminal activity, and therefore probably denotes one who is a social nuisance.”

Okay, guilty as charged! I can find where I have missed the mark in this definition of “meddler.” Recently, I got involved in a situation with my extended family where I thought I was trying to help and the end result was me causing a lot of drama. The Lord really called me to the carpet to stay out of certain things even in my family. I am not saying to not carefully watch over what goes on in your home Proverbs 31:27 says “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” We are to rear our children, see what they are watching, looking at on the internet and etc…so I am not talking about turning a blind eye.

I think in ministry, family (especially family), friendships, and work that there should be a very fine line when it comes to meddling. I think you would agree with me that there is a place for biblical accountability and what Galatians 6:1 speaks of when a brother or sister is caught in sin that you who are spiritual should restore he/she gently. Which will obviously involve getting in the middle of something…but I am just saying that we need to stay in check with scripture with our motives and see to it that what we think is helping is not controlling or meddling (I am speaking to myself here to). If we see another caught in sin and we examine ourselves and out of concern for our brother and duty for Christ we should gently go and try to help our brother or sister, but always for the purpose of restoration. I just think that as women (or mean) it is easy for us to feed off of gossip and tabloids (who do you think buys all of the magazines that are filled with nothing but gossip…what about soap operas and etc?). God created us to be relational beings. Case in point look at the rise of reality television…we love good drama and getting into peoples business. Let’s take scripture from what we know to our hearts and mind our own business. Let’s keep our relationships centered on Jesus and ask Him to cut down anything that does not bare fruit for His name and His renown. Especially as leaders, when people confide in us, let’s take all of what is confided in us to the throne where we can intercede on behalf of others to the One who can move mountains at His very word. People desperately need to trust others and see leadership that goes before them. I know personally I have reaped what I have sown from getting involved in things that are none of my business, think about how much time we consume with all of that. So, today let God be God and let’s get on with His word and not suffer for just being plain disobedient.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,

Father God, it is my prayer that we would work hard for your name and your glory at living according to your word. Help us to be about your business and purposes. I pray that you would give each leader passion and hunger for your word. God that like Jer 15:16 says your words were found and I ate them…that we would come to you and feast on your word. That we would desire Your word and time with you more than the trash that is put on our table from the world. Let us resolve like Daniel not to defile ourselves. God help us to live godly lives, lives that matter, with purpose, humility, love and passion. Let us serve you and love each other deeply. God please pour out your spirit on each one of us without measure and I beg you to touch the lives of those who will come to Bible study. Help us to lead them to the well that won’t run dry. In Your Most Holy Name…Jesus…Amen.

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