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Wednesday-Figuring it Out

 

so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

 

Philippians 1:10,11

 

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.

 

While there’s debate about who first said it, there is no dispute that everyone believes it. They don’t believe it about anyone else, they believe it about themselves. Everyone, and I mean everyone, wants the best. No matter how much money you have, or don’t have, you always want something better. Something more. We seem to be wired not to be satisfied with anything in this life.

 

When you go looking to buy something, everyone says that they have the best. Best quality. Best prices. Best service. Best taste. Best accommodations. Best meals. The word best has a good ring to it. It sounds like something you want to be part of. You want to get the best of everything. You always want to be treated as the best. Is it any wonder that when Richard Schulze wanted to change the name of his seven stores from Sound of Music that he chose Best Buy?

 

Just the other day we reconnected with a long-time friend in a steak house restaurant. As we sat down, the waiter welcomed us warmly. They were great fun and very helpful. As they started to introduce themselves and the restaurant they said those immortal words, “We’re the best steak house in the city.”

 

I have no question about our waiter’s sincerity or professionalism. Saying that the restaurant is the city’s best steak house didn’t offend me. But how do you prove it? Did he or someone else go around and eat steak throughout the city?

 

And you can’t prove the best steak house by eating just one meal. Oh no. You really should eat many meals, testing all their steaks and side dished. And while you are interested in the experiences of others, are you really willing to trust the word of complete strangers on the internet about whether somethings really the best?

 

Figuring out what’s best is never easy or instant. It can’t be a guess. It’s not even an opinion or what someone like best. You can only discern what’s best after doing your homework. You have to carefully look at the options and alternatives. You then have to test them, seeing which one is really the best.

 

That’s exactly what Paul is telling the Philippians to do. He wants them to be presently and actively discerning what’s best. And how does he want them to do this discerning? By testing. But not one short test, but through repeatedly testing. Testing again and again.

 

When it comes to testing, there’s no magic number. Nothing is written down that says if you test this many times, then you’ve done enough. That you can stop because you’ve tested enough.

 

But Paul’s not interested in testing to see what’s the best ice cream. The best grocery store. The best electric vehicle. Or even the best cloths to wear. Paul’s very interested in something oh so much more important to life.

 

The goal of Paul’s encouragement for testing is to discover for themselves what’s pure and blameless. Wow. Pure and blameless. Not two words that you hear a lot about these days. Are they?

 

Think about it. When was the last time you heard the phrase “pure and blameless” used about anyone or anything? When did you see the words “pure and blameless” flash across your phone, describing someone? When was the last time “pure and blameless” were used in any social media post?

 

I’ll tell you when. Never. As a whole, we’re not all that interested in pure and blameless. We’re not interested in “pure and blameless” in our political leaders. We only want them to do what we want. We’re not interested in “pure and blameless” when it comes to the people that manage our investments. We only want them to make us lots and lots of money.

 

But God has a very different perspective on life. He’s very, very, very interested in “pure and blameless”. It starts with who he is. In all that God is, he’s pure and blameless. He’s spotless. He’s holy.

 

And because God loves us, wanting nothing but the absolute best for us, he wants that for us too. His deep desire is for us to be “pure and blameless.” That’s how he originally made us.

 

But then someone told us a lie, that God was holding something back from us. And in a moment of rebellion and selfishness, we did the one thing that God told us not to do. And the most terrible tragedy of all of history happened. We lost our “pure and blameless” character and nature.

 

And to recover us, and our original “pure and blameless” character, Jesus came to die for us. We didn’t have to figure it out. God did all the figuring. All the dying. All the paying for our disastrous debt. Isn’t he worth worshiping and serving?

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • What do you think when someone says that they’re the best?

  • How do you figure out if someone or something is pure and blameless?

  • Does it feel like God wants nothing but the best for us? Why?

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