Blog Archives

Another Conniption Fit!

“Have this mindset about you, which is also that of Christ Jesus,”

(Philippians 2:5)

Conniption Alert! Conniption Alert! Okay, Groseclose, what is it now? Why the conniption fit? Once again, because of changes in cultural understandings, we find several English translations rendering this verse in a way that it skews the meaning of Paul’s statement. In this case, the NIV and the NASB both opt to render this as have this “attitude.” The Greek word that is used here by Paul is frone/w (phroneo), a word we have already seen and discussed in Philippians 1:7 and 2:2, and while it can refer to an attitude toward something that a person takes, in the Greek usage, the attitude was seen to have been adopted only after careful and thoughtful consideration.

Today, when we use the term “attitude” it refers either to a disposition toward something (“he has a bad attitude” or “what is your attitude toward these things?”). Rarely, in our modern usage, does the term imply that such an attitude has been thought out or reasoned through. Yet, the Greeks would consider that an essential aspect of the term.

So, did I surprise you with my conniption? I didn’t think so. It frustrates me to no end when people ignore their reason and go with their “gut” on things because 9 times out of 10, our “gut” is misleading us. We do not see God acting on his feelings either, but he acts upon the council of his own will…a reasoned activity again.

Now, do not misunderstand my diatribe. Feelings are part of God’s created design, they are not a result of the Fall. Feelings are good and proper. But, feelings are designed to be governed by the sanctified reason; not reason being governed by the feelings, which is the model that we find so many people following today. Everything becomes permissible when right and wrong is governed by one’s feelings. You have no right to discern behavior that is honorable from behavior that is sin if personal feelings become the ultimate arbiter. Today’s culture boldly proclaims, “Be true to yourself!” and feelings are the ultimate justifier of personal preference. God says, “Be true to Truth himself…and Jesus is the Truth.”

And thus goes my conniption. Yet at the same time, the most important aspect of this verse is yet before us. We are to reason about our interactions with one another based on the model of Christ…Paul will develop this further in the following verses, but the principle is before us…if you want to see the ultimate example of counting the needs of others as more significant than your own…the model is Jesus. Flee to him. Reason through and follow his example. Have this “mindset” amongst yourselves.

By the Way, She is my Sister…Well, Sort of…: Genesis 20:12-13

And indeed, she is also my sister; she is daughter of my father only, not the daughter of my mother. And she is my wife. It was at the time which God caused me to wander from the house of my father, I said to her, “This is your loving-kindness which you shall do for me: in all the places which we enter, say of me, ‘He is my brother.’”

(Genesis 20:12-13)

 

A former pastor of mine used to tell me, “Win, the devil can justify anything.” Indeed, how often it is that we fall into the trap of justifying what we want even though it may not be the right thing to do. Abraham is trying to get away with doing just that here and it seems that God will allow him to do so; in his grace, sometimes God chooses not to punish every sin in this life, choosing instead to pass over them while at the same time, ultimately laying them upon the shoulders of his Son, Jesus Christ. In addition, while in a technical sense Abraham is telling the truth, the statement that Abraham makes is designed to mislead and thus is a lie regardless of his bride’s bloodline.

How often we are guilty of not only justifying our actions as if that would make them less sinful in God’s eyes, but also of telling lies and manufacturing “truth” to fit your situation. How often we tell lies without thinking about them or go to great ends to construct lies to suit the ends that they want to achieve. Even in the church, lies often abound and justification quickly follows for the purpose of minimizing the guilt of breaking God’s law.

Loved ones, sin is sin. Let us be honest in that principle and not make light that which God has commanded of us. Let us commit to the truth and commit to God’s command. Let us make the decision not to justify what we do when it is contrary to God, but let our yes be yes and our no be no with no “in-betweens.”