Cooking segments on day time TV are always interesting…I love how they have 5 min to make something, and it turns out amazing.
What I find intriguing, from someone who doesn’t cook all that well, especially one who doesn’t bake, is how it all comes together.
The hardest part, in my opinion, is starting. You have to imagine something good coming out of your raw ingredients. You have to have a vision that drives you to mix and stir and bake and cool…and then…EAT.
We are, knowingly or not, stirring up something.
- our life is a result of what we started stirring up a few years before
- our actions are a result of what has been stirring in our heart
- our relationships are as strong as the ingredients we’ve put into them and the discipline to do the hard work.
- nothing tastes good without any planning, working, stirring, and mixing at the onset.
How is this analogy part of our current conversation?
Well, as we come to the end of our journey in Proverbs 6, we are given the last and final thing God hates, or at least, the writers interpretation of what God hates. It has to do with stirring, mixing, and creating.
I mentioned last week that I tinkered with a FaceBook survey or pole. As promised, I will share some of the best responses. Here are the top things people hate…
- Bad Coffee & Bad Beer
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Marble Cheese
- The political party they didn’t vote for
- Dust bunnies
- Boston Bruins
- When someone presses an elevator button that’s already been pressed
- How much time do you have?
- Facebook questions/surveys?
- Doing the same thing over & over and expecting different results
- Lies & vaccines (needles)
- Mental illness & it’s impact
- Seeing people suffer
- Lies & Arrogant people
- Mistreatment & Rigid Thinking
- Hate (a few people said they hate hate…I agree with them)
Where have we been so far? What have we talked about? What is God ‘not fond of’?
- prideful eyes
- envious of what others have
- lying tongue
- hands, feet, HEART
This all comes from Proverbs 6. The writer of the proverbs does his best to interpret and answer this question, ‘what does God hate?’.
16 There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
This final line seems to both add another layer to the conversation, while also summing things up quite nicely.
3 parts two this line that are essential…PERSON / STIRS UP CONFLICT / COMMUNITY
a PRESON who…
The underlying intention in this text was leading us to this all along.
What kind of PERSON do you want to be?
What makes up WHO you are?
This proverb reminds us that our hands, our feet, our eyes, our tongue, and of course our heart, reflects the PERSON we are.
Will we be defined by the words this proverb uses to describe those parts of the body…or…will we, with intention and purpose, be the person Jesus is calling us to be.
- Humility instead of Pride
- Truth instead of Lies
- Good instead of Evil
- Life giving instead of Life threatening
We get to choose the kind of person we are. We get to invite God to help us become who he calls us to be. That’s both a gift and a choice.
STIRS UP CONFLICT…
Like we said at the top, we or others are always stirring up something. Nothing that happens, just happens. We or someone else was part of it. Things come about because of what was being stirred before hand.
This puts value on every part of everything we do.
I love the metaphor or analogy…to stir up or sow:
- are we intentional about what we are creating with the decisions we’re making?
- are we thoughtful of what will come from our ideas and more importantly, our actions?
- are we planting peace, hope, love, grace, forgiveness…today…so it grows into something impactful…tomorrow?
This proverb of course warns us of what not to stir up: CONFLICT. DISCORD.
We know what conflict is, but I love the word DISCORD (ESV). Something intriguing about that word.
Discord in Hebrew means, division, strife, contention, quarrel, and of course, conflict.
When I think about this word I can’t help but think about music and chords and separating the word like this – DIS / CHORD
- something that break ups the harmony
- a note that doesn’t belong in the chord or the scale
- a musical element that causes unnecessary tension
God hates it when what was supposed to be harmonious is now in dis-cord, or is now in conflict, is now divided.
Proverbs speaks to this issue a lot…
10:12 Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.
15:18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.
16:28 A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.
17:1 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.
13:10 Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
22:10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.
28:25 The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper.
29:22 An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.
Of course, the NT addresses this as well:
Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
1 Tim 6:4 They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction…
What contributes to or feeds conflict/strife (according to Proverbs)
- A hot temper
- talking too much / saying the wrong thing at the wrong time or the right thing at the wrong time
What sucks the air out of conflict or strife (according to Proverbs)
- A peace maker
- A grateful or content heart
- A calm demeanour
- If and when you talk, think about it, pray about it, count your words
The last word in this proverb is community.
What saddens God’s heart most? A break up in community.
All the things that are listed in Proverbs 6 are of course things that lead to broken relationships, broken families, broken marriages, broken neighbourhoods, broken work places and offices, even brokenness in faith communities and churches.
TAKE HOME :
We have a choice…to be the kind of person who stirs up good, who builds up others, who makes those around us better.
How do we do that? By hating what God hates and loving what God loves.
Say no to pride and yes to humility
Say no to lies and yes to the truth
Say no to evil and yes to good
Say no to tearing people down and yes to building people up
Say no to unnecessary conflict and yes to healthy community
These are the ways of Jesus. We can’t get away from that. Jesus lived his life in this way for us to follow his example.
The final question in this series is this: What are you stirring up? What ingredients are you adding to the mix when if comes to forming your character, your heart, your mind, your life? What kind of person are you becoming, and do your actions reflect who you want to become?
This is a question we should always be asking ourselves so we keep in step with the person God is calling us to be in Jesus.
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small(er) group questions:
What are your impressions of this final theme in this series? How does that final line in our Proverb text resonate with you?
Did you see how the writer led us to this very place where we can analyze what kind of person we are? How do you feel about the sequence he used? Eyes, Tongue, Heart, Hands, Feet, Person? How does this challenge you?
Conflict isn’t always negative and is sometimes necessary. If so, what do you think the writer means by causing conflict, strife or discord? (Feel free to use the other proverbs quoted above)
How valuable is community to you? How about a sense of family? Do you see God’s heart for this here? Is your heart aligned with God’s in regards to community and healthy relationships?
What are you stirring up? Does this metaphor speak to you and more importantly, challenge you? Is fo, how?
How difficult or important is it to choose humility over pride, truth over lies, evil over good, life giving activity over life sucking activity, and community over division?