"...minds ready for action..."
"So then, have your minds ready for action. Keep alert... Be obedient to God, and do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desires you had when you were still ignorant. Instead, be holy in all that you do... (I Peter 1: 13-15)
Parent: "So why did you do this?"
Child: "Everyone else was doing it!"
Parent: "If everyone else was jumping off a cliff would you jump too?"
I'm not an expert on ants, but apparently there are situations where the little boy and girl ants would answer that parental question with, "Yes." One day near the end of summer I looked at my hummingbird feeder only to discover that suddenly hundreds and hundreds of ants had unwittingly followed one another "right over the cliff." In this case the "cliff" was the edge of my feeder, with a sugar-watery death awaiting them inside.
Our parents tried to warn us about "following" - or more likely, "following without thinking." They wanted us to beware the tendency of taking the easy road, blindly following without using our brains and the important knowledge we had been given to sort our way through the many difficult challenges of life. There are many who would like for us to forget the warnings of our parents as well as the warning of the writer of I Peter in the New Testament. Sometimes it seems likes the "band wagons" are circled around us with each of their leaders cajoling us to climb aboard. "You don't have to think, you don't have to wonder, you don't have to worry. Just climb on my wagon and everything will be okie dokie!"
"Band Wagon Leaders" know how to prey upon our vulnerabilities. They know how to hit us where it "hurts" - especially triggering those feelings the writer of I Peter had in mind when he said, "do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desires you had when you were still ignorant." Those "desires" are often reflections of our anxiety and emerge as the desire to be safe, the desire to be liked, the desire to belong, the desire to be happy, etc. When we forget what we've learned - that our deepest desire is to know peace, a peace that is available from God through all times and all things, we will allow ourselves to turn off our "thinking" and blindly climb aboard the most attractive "bandwagon."
I Peter's writer is right, we are no longer ignorant. Jesus reminded us that the way to holiness (and peace) is "to love the Lord with all our heart and soul and mind and strength, and our neighbor as our self." When faced with struggles of life that demand decisions, I pray that God will give me the courage resist the temptation to jump on a bandwagon, and instead, use the tools and knowledge God has given me to find my way and "be holy." How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
Help save lives! For more information on my new book, "A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression," visit www.survivingteendepression.com.
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"...minds ready for action..."