I got a good deal this year on Christmas cards at Kmart-20 in a box for $3.99, made by a company called Joyful Greetings. I liked the picture and message: a snowflake background, onto which the following is printed, in parallel lines, one under the other:
Whatever is true,
Whatever is noble,
Whatever is right,
Whatever is pure,
Whatever is lovely,
Whatever is admirable-
If anything is excellent
Think about such things.
For some reason it dawned on me when I read my card: How many times have I come across this particular verse in the Bible over the last 35 years? Perhaps a hundred? Second question: How have I typically responded to this bit of Scripture: (A) "That's a lovely passage"? Or: (B) "Thank you, Lord. I am going to start obeying this right away. This Scripture, Lord, has shown a spotlight on my heart that exposes ugly meditations. Forgive me, I am so sorry. As for 'whatever is true,' I need to confess that I have been entertaining all kinds of hypothetical fears, fears that I should have rebuked with the truths and promises in your Word. As for 'whatever is noble,' I have been self-seeking rather than making the noble choice"? And so on down the list.
It is a very queer thing about Christians that we are able to read plain commands in the Word of God, like Philippians 4:8, and nod appreciatively-and then walk away and not do them, nor not even think of doing them. I'll bet that the number of Christians who actually read Philippians 4:8 and go out and make a start on it is a very small subset of the number of Christians who make appreciative noises about how beautiful the verses are. I have been one of that latter kind of Christian.
This pernicious phenomenon is a kind of syndrome that I am going to take the liberty to dub the "Ezekiel Syndrome." See if you think it fits:
"And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it" (Ezekiel 33:32).
I think I am going to start obeying my Christmas card today.
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