Make the Connection

I know I have a hard bend not to like being told what to do. I blame some of it on my Catholic school roots. There were a lot of “Do what I say, not as I do” expectations. 

I remember listening to a school Mass one Friday when Father G’s sermon warned us about addictions…”Don’t drink! Don’t smoke! Don’t gamble! Only do want is right!” Only to come home that afternoon to find my favorite priest Father Dan was coming over for dinner and a beer. He and my dad talked long into the evening about him running our school’s 5th annual casino night over a smoke. Talk about mixed messages. 

So when Philippians 4:8 pops up on my Bible app saying, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” I instinctively think, what’s that gonna get me but more hard work keeping my nose clean? Especially when I fully believe that my sin has been wiped away – my past, present and future sins are all as far from me as the east is to the west.

If Romans 8:38-39 are really true, and Paul was “convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That is good enough for me.

So, if all that is true, why would I want to work that hard?

Then I saw verses 8 and 9 of Philippians 4 positioned beautifully together. 
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” 

Paul is saying, “Hey, I get it. Things are hard out there. Trust this old man and put these things into practice, and God will be with you and bring His peace to you.” Peace. If I’m being honest, whenever I veer away from doing what is noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable, it’s because I’m looking for the shortcut to some form of fabricated peace. 

Want to see what else connects? Let’s take it back a few verses.
“Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation with prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

OOOOHH! I guess that’s why it makes sense to read the Bible in order. Thanks for letting me catch up and make the connection with you today. What about you? Have you tried to skip over some Biblical truths to find a shortcut to what you want faster? What connections have you missed? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

We will get through this together.
In His service and at yours!

Published by Shawn McCarthy

While serving as the Weekend Experience Pastor at Seacoast Church, I felt God prompting me to share the moments when He would speak His truth into my life through scripture in a way that made sense to me, giving me tangible ways to learn, grow and lead. These promptings turned into weekly emails that I would send my small groups and volunteer teams. I found myself enjoying the process of digging deeper into God’s Word, being stretched by the writing process, and encouraging others in the faith. My lovely wife, Anna, challenged me to begin this blog, so these moments that I have come to call, my “Red-Letter Moments,” can find a home. My prayer is that you will find hope, comfort, and inspiration here, and above all, you will come to know that the God of the universe loves you and desires a personal relationship with you.”

3 thoughts on “Make the Connection

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