I just happened upon this: “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. (Acts 17:16-17 ESV)”
Difficult to say, I think, on how I should act when I “am provoked.” I remember the “Whips” episode in the temple and thinking that is the model of response to imitate. And then I straighten up and remember I am not Jesus. He has the chops to handle the whip with righteousness. Me? I would be doing it in anger.
However, I would like to have release for the “spirit of snortiness” that rises up in me. When I was younger I did–have release, that is. What a sight that was (and not good).
Here we have Paul–I am provoked he says to himself—“lookit all these idols! I will show them, I will ARGUE, tell them what dunces they are, etc.! That’ll get the job done!” No, that is not what he does. He is determined to reason with them from the scripture showing that Christ had to die and that He rose again and many other things pertaining to the Gospel—the epitome of patience and perseverance.
I have to be pro something and not just anti…Which kind of means we have to know “why” we are provoked; why we need to go; why it is the right action? Why not stand outside the “temple” and catch them on the way out, reasoning from the scriptures? Why have to “get” the main man in this case and put him in his place?
I always have to turn back to Matt 7 to get the strategic picture. But it isn’t good enough for the boots on the ground. We have silly people in our own local churches–shucks, we probably have salvationally deceived people perhaps sitting right next to us on Sunday AM.
So, maybe this is what I ought to think: 1) When I get “snorty” perhaps I should remember God doesn’t get all “snorty” with me; 2) “Come, let us reason together” says God. Perhaps I should be reasoning where “snortiness” isn’t Godly; 3) Perhaps I need to study, showing that I can handle the Word of Truth correctly and uprightly.
If I really look at myself in the mirror, and really ask God to reveal my soul, my heart, for me I have to say my “snortiness” comes from emotion, not preparing my feet for the message of the Gospel.
Father, my snottiness comes on like a bull in a china shop. I am ready to bull over all that oppose me. But that isn’t the Peace of the Gospel. I realize I need to be Firm, Friendly, Fair, Reasonable, Thorough, — humble, transparent, open for criticism, merciful to others, fierce to myself. I also realize that I am far from where I need to be.
Help me reach out in Faith, not shrinking back, but also not going where angels fear to go. Asking You for a heart that is after You and only You, and my head on straight concerning the Gospel.