Monday, October 6, 2014

6 in 30 for 30

I love playoff baseball.

It's ridiculously unpredictable. The tension builds with every pitch, every swing, and every crucial step down the base paths. A split second difference could mean the difference between hero or villain.

I'm in a casual playoff pick-em between a few guys in a baseball Facebook group, and there were many similarities in whom we chose to win certain games, series, and eventually the World Series (c'mon, Cardinals, I'm counting on your experience). And yet, because of teams like Kansas City, we just throw up our hands in disgust and say, "What the heck do we know about baseball? Apparently nothing!"

What I do know from watching these games, however, is that these guys are professionals for a reason. You see the intent in their form, shaped over thousands of hours of practice, sacrificing so much to get to the Bigs. This is what they do... and they do it well. It's evident with every camera angle we see on TV, including the moments when they make mistakes (C'mon, Bumgarner! Bad throw!). There's no mistaking who they are.

After going through a few words about standing up for a bad neighbor and calling out sluggards in the first several verses of Proverbs 6, Solomon writes:
"A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing." v. 12-15
This type of person, within this description, is seemingly very obvious. Sounds like a jerk face on every level. That type of person should be easy to spot, like identifying these baseball players as professionals, correct? We think of the men and women in prison, or stereotype certain people based on circumstances, race, culture, whatever.
And yet, people like the one mentioned in the text exist, sometimes subtly. Verses 16-19 things the Lord "hates" or are "abominations" to him, like lying, plotting evil, killing, etc. Again, some of those are blatant, but then again, liars, cheaters, and plotters aren't exactly easy to spot. However, I don't think it's out job to be a seeking missile to find them.
Solomon writes that "calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing." People who are wicked, in active rebellion against the Creator God, will be given into their wickedness.

I'm not really sure how all of that helps, but it certainly helps me reflect on my personal actions.

What are my motivations? What's deep within my heart, especially when the temptation to cut corners presents itself?
- Will I speak ill of my fellow co-workers to gain an edge?
- Will I lie to my friends in order to gain popularity or favor?
- Will I let anger stir within my soul? Or allow success to swell my head?

6:16-19 is in contrast with Proverbs 4:23-27:
"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure/ Do not swerve to the right or to the left' turn your foot away from evil."
How are we reflecting this type of character? Are we allowing the Spirit to transform us? We can't idly stand by; we must be active ourselves. The late Dallas Willard said, "Projects of personal transformation rarely if ever succeed by accident, drift, or imposition."

Are your words and actions reflecting a child of God, or something else? This isn't works-based salvation at all, but God doesn't want us to stay in the minor leagues of our faith. He wants us to get to the Bigs.

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