At this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism. (This was before John was thrown into prison.) A debate broke out between John’s disciples and a certain Jew over ceremonial cleansing. (John 3:23-25)
Daily Bible Reading: Numbers 14:1 – 15:41
Relate: Neal Stephenson said that “arguing with anonymous strangers on the internet is a sucker’s game because they always turn out to be (or to be indistinguishable from) self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.” They say that being argumentative is a typical trait of being a teenager and if that is true then I took “being a teenager” to the extreme. I shudder to think what I would have done were the internet as commonplace in the nineties as it is now. Even in my college days when I did not have much free time, I would waste quite a bit of it in debating. Message boards were the thing at the time and I joined a couple atheist boards, creation/evolution boards and even an A Course In Miracles” board so I could debate with some new age types. If you said up I’d say down. If you said left I’d say right. If you said yes, I would say no and no matter how correct you actually were I would have you half convinced you were wrong in no time flat. If this job were real, I would have been the perfect man to work in this argument room:
React: The fact is, I was a good debater, but that doesn’t matter. It was an abuse of my intelligence and my gift for writing and it was a waste of my time. For some things it is important to uphold the truth but it is never a benefit to argue. Most of the things we argue about, in light of eternity are actually quite silly and hold as much real value as John’s disciples arguing over ceremonial washing. If we were to look ahead we can see that they were insecure. John’s response to them shows that he was completely secure in who he was and in who God was. Although he would prophetically scorch hypocrites and sinners, he had no need to argue. He knew his place. Those times in my own life when that old urge to argue starts to rise up, it is because I am not walking in the confidence of who I am in Christ. It is completely OK to explain, reason, or discuss but lets be real here… My God is big enough and powerful enough that He doesn’t need my defense.
God, help me to have a greater vision of who You are and who I am in You. Give me a peace of spirit that keeps me from the need to defend or debate. Help me to strive to know and understand but not to show off that knowledge. Thank You for what You have done and are doing in my life. Please continue to guide me into healthy and God honoring ways to use, rather than abuse, those gifts You have given me. In every area and every aspect of my life, be glorified.