One of the funniest movies in our family’s opinion id Elf starring Will Farrell. In that movie, Buddy the Elf of course dressed like an elf walks into the Christmas department in Macy’s store in downtown NYC. In the process, the manager of the Christmas department assumed Buddy is employed there. The boss asks Buddy, “Why are you smiling?” Buddy replies “Smiling is my favorite!” Well, all this is well and good but the Christmas department boss assumes needs results, it appears that Buddy is not working. His quip in response, “Make WORK your new favorite!” Just like a boss.
So what does the story of Buddy the Elf & Christmas have to do with your Christian walk in May? Well, a great deal, at least I think.
As we go through life we will be faced with all sorts of things. We will have to deal with hard times in marriages, in school, finances, spiritual battles and more. Not dealing with them does not solve the problems. Pretending they are not there, does not solve our problems. We must address them each according to their merit, and we must address them each according to God’s power and not ours.
The bible was given to us, as many before me have said, as an owner’s manual for Christian life. Inside those pages are dozens of worthwhile stories and examples for just about anything you might face in life. If a specific example is not there, there is a character of God, and His whole counsel to give guidelines promoting a Christian reaction or response to everything we might encounter. The resources are there (scripture) and the tools are there (the Holy Spirit), all we need to act is a heart to follow God. What does that mean? We need to make studying God’s Word our favorite!
Favorite foods, favorite colors, favorite music etc are all good things. It’s nice to have a favorite to fall back on. Life throws so many choices at us that having a favorite is something that comforts us in the face of choices. It’s comforting to have a favorite, something that you know is always there for you, is always good, and well, just feels right. An issue that so many have is that their favorite is “ME”, and whatever it takes to make ME happy or satisfied, rather than making decisions that make God happy, and is others centered.
Having a favorite does not prohibit us from stepping outside of the norm either. I am a Pepsi guy, not Coke. But, on occasion I’ll drink the swill from Atlanta when I have to. I take from it what I can, but always go back to Pepsi. I have also read the Qur’an. I take from it what I find useful, and go back to what I know is right. And by the way, I’m just making an analogy; I’m not equating Coke to Islam (or am I… J) I read books from Reformed pastors and theologians in spite of my disagreements with their theology. I have read Calvin, but I’m not a Calvinist. I’ve read the Wesley brothers and still to this day sing many of the Wesley Hymns (as do you), but I’m not a Methodist. In other words, while the Word of God remains our center, we may do well to educate ourselves on what’s being taught out there, and that we can do so without turning our backs on truth.
A tendency of us as humans, and perhaps even more so as Christians is to deal with a problem by asking this question first: “Does anyone know of a good book on how to deal with [inset problem X here]?” Does anyone know of a good book on healing, prayer, child-rearing, divorce, alcoholism etc, etc? Sure these can be helps, and I’m not saying that we cannot go to other sources (I better not, since I just advocated it in the last paragraph), but rather that we need to make the Word of God our favorite! Our first answer should be “Yes, the Bible”, and offer some comforting verses that may help. We are often afraid to turn to the Bible first and will sooner find a book dedicated to that topic. But digging into the word, making it our favorite source is what really truly helps us grow!
Get to know the bible like an old friend. Like an old Favorite! Knows it inside and out, be able to quote it, reference it first. Make God’s word your new favorite.