Taking the High Road in Heated Times
If you want to take the high road in heated times you need to guard your heart. In Acts chapter 19 we see how that happened in Paul's life and we need to consi how it can be true in ours
It's a fine line we walk in this world, being in it but not of it. As we live in Christ we are called to communicate truth while not condemning or condoning people's sinful lifestyles, or caving in to temptations to sin.
Politics (contentious election cycle, ongoing issues, etc.).
Relationships (husband/wife, parent/child, brother/sister, & so on.).
Many other aspects of life...internal and external issues...mind, marketplace, mission.
We do this very imperfectly, often falling short of what God intends. We navigate tricky relational terrain, needing to be gracious in our conduct even when grieved in our hearts, confessing our sins while seeking to live with a clear conscience before God and man. Remaining patient in persecution. Taking the high road in heated times.
2 Peter 2:8 tells us that Lot's righteous soul was tormented day by day as ungodliness was paraded before his eyes. You may feel like that too. No matter what you must take the high road. That's what we see in Acts 19:21–41. Paul is swept up into an idolatrous riot in Ephesus. He took the high road in a very heated time. There are things we can learn from this situation to help us take the high road too.
This is pretty much a straight narrative. And there are some lessons we can learn. Deeply rooted in who God is and what He wants to do in and through us for His glory and others good.
What actually happened? Go ahead and read it! I'll wait. It's pretty straightforward.
(Read Acts 19:21-41)
Alright, that was a wild, contentiou, heated moment in Paul's life. When you see what Paul did you see the kind of response we need to give daily. Observations, implications...a wise path to take.
1. LISTEN UP. For you...first to the Word of God. Then godly friends that don't contradict the Word. Listen to friends. Take wise counsel. Take advice. Paul did. We must too. Prov. 11:14 where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory. Prov. 12:15, 13:10, 15:31-33, 19:20, 24:6, 27:9. Don't lobby to get your way. Don't bounce from person to person until you get the right answer. That's not the way of wisdom.
2. LIGHTEN UP. On your agenda. Words and actions. Choices. Seek the will of God. Accept it. Good, acceptable, perfect. Hold your tongue. Paul did not lash out. The truth will win out. Guard your lips. Let God temper your tongue. You seldom regret what you do not say. Prov. 17:28 says even a fool when he remains silent is considered wise.
3. LOOK UP. Wait on God. Paul did. God used an ungodly leader to quiet the crowd and rescue his people, protected and preserved to preach another day. He will orchestrate and act. Prov. 16:9 The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps. Also, Proverbs 16:1–3. Remember who is in control. Observe: Is. 26:3-4 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. You should trust in the Lord forever. You can. You must. He is our Rock. Some rocks crumble. Some rocks are small. Some rocks are weak. God is strong. God never fails. God is greater, bigger, stronger than all. God is forever. God remains. God is able. God acts on our behalf.
In other words...
1. Listen up...to wise counsel. Seek and follow it.
2. Lighten up...on your agenda. Consider words and actions.
3. Look up...to God almighty. He's in control.
Three points to remember, AND TO DO!
It sounds a lot like James 1:19.
Quick to listen to wise counsel;
Slow to speak your own words;
Our anger does not work God's righteousness, so look to him.
We can only take the high road, ultimately, because Jesus did.
Jesus took the high road to the cross. (The incarnation and humanity of Christ. 100% percent God, 100% man.)
1. He listened up. He obeyed the Father. I only do what the Father tells me. For you...that's the Word of God.
2. He lightened up. He obeyed the will of the Father. Not my will but yours be done. He did not open his mouth. Is. 53:7. Took the suffering and pain. In our place, for our sin. Ps. 22.
3. He looked up. He entrusted his soul to God. Isaiah 53. It was the will of God to crush him. That he would be satisfied, wrath of peace, propitiation, payment for sin. That he would see his offspring. Bringing many sons and daughters to glory.
We must take the highroad in heated times like Paul and most importantly like Jesus.
1. Listen up. Word of God. Listen to your friends wise counsel. Who is like that in your life? Who can you be that kind of friend to?
2. Lighten up. On your agenda. Hold your tongue. The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. There is going to come a moment later today or tomorrow or this week are you going to be faced with a situation where you were either going to fly off the handle and take a little road are you gonna take the highroad. It's going to be a conscious decision you make. Your friends can't make it for you. Decide now, resolved now how are you going to respond?
3. Look up. Pray. Depend. Trust God in everything. He is working all things together for good. He upholds the universe by the word of His power. If you want to take the highroad and heated times are you ready to do so? You going to need to guard your heart. And most importantly you need to look to Jesus. And put your trust in Him as you make wise decisions that will honor Him.
SOLI DEO GLORIA