Have you ever caught yourself listening to a sermon on someone else’s behalf?
What I mean by that is, are you mentally internally saddened because, “so-and-so SURE COULD BENEFIT from hearing this,” but she isn’t there? Or perhaps you’re cheering the pastor on because you think, “Boy, I hope that couple across the aisle is paying attention! They really need to be hearing this!” Or hitting perhaps even closer to home, listening to a sermon/message “for” your husband?
But the Bible makes it abundantly clear that (while one-anothering is good, and exhortation, teaching, counseling, and encouragement are all excellent) aside from our roles as parents, the main person’s obedience we are to pay keen attention to is our own.
My pastor once preached a sermon about how “MYOB” would be a good quick acronym for helping people in everyday Christian living. He said that we’d all be better off if each believer remembered, more often than not, to “Mind Your Own Business.” I think it’s a good reminder in today’s tell-all world.
Daily choices of obedience or rebellion toward the LORD.
Moment-by-moment opportunities to love my family or to love myself.
This is progressive sanctification.
Specifically, I’m to buckle down and live *my own* real life, leaning into the Lord for my own sanctification. Lately I’ve been contemplating doing the plain-old, “boring,” (but somehow extremely challenging) simple things that Scripture lays out for ME to do. There’s plenty of material there:
- “Think about these things” — true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8)
- Is the Spirit of God clearly at work in my heart? Am I exhibiting His fruit– love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? (Galatians 5:22)
- Do I have godly wisdom? “Wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)
- Am I offering true love to others? Patient? Kind? Not envious? Not boasting? Not proud? Not rude? Not selfish & demanding? Not irritable and resentful/embittered? Never rejoicing at evil? Always rejoicing with truth? Do I persevere? Bear, believe, hope, and endure all things? (from 1 Corinthians 13)
- AND the Bible is full of so much more that can serve as a challenge and sharpening tool for my heart and life.
It hurts, honestly, to look at myself through these lenses.
Comparison can leave us feeling like the best or the worst, depending on who we’re comparing ourselves against! But no matter where I fall when compared against others on a computer screen, I don’t come out on top when I measure myself against the standards of Scripture. While I am dearly loved by God, His love for me doesn’t just leave me where I sit, in the muck of my flesh. His love for me compels Him to reveal to me my need for Jesus, AND ULTIMATELY, to conform me to (make me more like) the image of His son.
When we filter our lives through Scripture, no matter how long we’ve been walking with the Lord, there is always greater sanctification (moving toward Christlikeness) that needs to happen. In fact, the closer I get to Him, the more clearly I see all the areas in my life that are *NOT* holy and pure.
Sadly, it can be so tempting and so easy to shift our conviction and concern from our own walk with God toward the way others are walking and living.
GOSSIP & “RUNNING FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE”
In 1 Timothy 5, when Paul is giving Timothy instructions for when to enroll widows in the provisions given by the church, one of the qualifications is that she not be a young widow (verse 11). One reason given is because being fully supported by the church at a young age, without anything to do (see suggested activities in verse 14) can encourage a busybody-like, gossiping nature in women (verse 13).
We often want to minimize the seriousness of our gossip, and justify a mindless “running from house to house” (which I think includes comparing, contrasting, complaining, criticizing, and coveting– these can happen whether you are physically running from house to house or not). But Paul describes this behavior as “straying after Satan.” (1 Timothy 5:15) I am concerned that if we’re not intentional, much of our online activities could be described similarly: running from house to house, comparing, gossiping, criticizing, and coveting.
It is a serious thing to be a woman who, because of having too much free time, is preoccupied with the homes and situations of others.
“BUT WHAT ABOUT HER, LORD?”
After the resurrection, Peter asked Jesus about John, wishing to know what His future plans for John might be.
The response from Jesus?
“What is that to you? You follow me.” (John 21:22)
It can be so tempting to look around (especially in this Pinterest/Facebook/Instagram age) and try to diagnose and/or “solve the problems” of everyone else. We are like Peter, asking about God’s plans for someone else, “But what about her, Lord?”
Like He did with Peter, God snaps us back into reality:
“Each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12)
Even when friends ask us for input, exhortation, wisdom, encouragement, and insight into their lives, we are not to then spend the next two weeks (months? years?) stewing over their issues, churning over them endlessly. NO. Remember to consider, “What has God put on my plate?”
We each have our own issues to deal with:
“Let each one test his own work… for each will have to bear his own load.” (Galatians 6:4-5)
At the end of the day, while there are plenty of “one anothers” for us to live out within the Body (and we should!), at the very same time, God says that it is good for us to live quietly & mind our own business:
“We urge you, brothers… to aspire to live quietly and to mind your own affairs…” ~1 Thessalonians 4:10-11
Christian woman, more often than not, MYOB.